The pet business, despite the tough economy, has grown on Long Island, said Nancy E. Hassel, founder of Long Island Pet Professionals, which represents veterinarians and other animal caretakers. Pet owners, it seems, will make sure to care for their dogs, cats and other pets, even if the cupboard is almost bare.
Michael Ayalon of East Meadow is testament to that. The 35-year-old Ayalon left his accounting job at a technology company in Long Island City seven years ago to found PetWebDesigner.com, a marketing site for the pet industry. Ayalon stumbled into the business. His mother-in-law was a breeder of champion mastiffs. In 2003, she had a litter of 13 mastiffs. She asked her son-in-law for help in finding them homes. He designed a site. All were adopted.
Now, Ayalon, working pro bono, has designed a new site, AnimalRoulette.com, which is to be rolled out this Saturday from 1-4 p.m. at the Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton. The idea is to make pet adoptions easier by putting the pets at Kent online. Would-be owners will be able to see the pets in real-time and speak with shelter workers about them. To adopt, they must make a visit. Ayalon said he will eventually go nationwide with the site.
Ayalon selected Kent because Kent was chosen as Shelter of the Year in 2009, a national award, by the North Shore Animal League, Purina and Dog Fancy magazine, said executive director Pam Green. Ayalon liked accounting, but loves pets.
He now has three employees, all in India, where he outsources code writing. "I work on sales," Ayalon said. "I'm the one who does all of the marketing."