Nassau DA Probes Alleged Abuses At Town Of Hempstead Pound
It looks as though that "Summer of Love" may be drawing to a cold close at the Town of Hempstead's Animal Shelter.
For all those warm and fuzzy photo ops of Town Supervisor Kate "Cheshire Cat" Murray cuddling with her furry friends, word on the street -- and in the press -- has it that animals at the Town shelter are being beaten, abused, and left to die in their cages, this under the not too watchful eyes of Town employees drawing six-figure salaries.
So, it's not only the poor, helpless animals that are allegedly being abused, but the poor, helpless taxpayers as well.
Only allegations, of course, yet to be proven. Allegations.
One source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Community Alliance, "Charles Milone (acting Shelter Director) is making over $100,000... Another political appointee making over $100,000, Bruce Hallbert, replaced Milone (at the Shelter) but he, too, was replaced by yet another making over $100,000, Pat Horan. The budget of the shelter is over $7.1 million yet I hear there are many inhumane practices going on and that all volunteers have now been banned from the premises - thus no oversight."
The Town of Hempstead itself is "investigating" the alleged abuses (kinda like the fox investigating pillage at the hen house), with testimony from former shelter volunteers being heard (but not necessarily listened to) at a recent Town Board meeting.
Meanwhile, back in the kennel club that is Hempstead Town Hall (where inbreeding at the patronage mill has set evolution on its head), Supervisor Murray calls the issue "administrative," telling a reporter at News12 that the investigation does not involve the abuse, mishandling or mistreatment of cats or dogs at the Town shelter. [Hmmm. So what exactly is the Nassau County DA's office looking into at the Town Animal Shelter? Could it be the abuse, mishandling and mistreatment of the taxpayers and their hard-earned money?]
In a town where nepotism and patronage reign supreme; where fiscal prudence is holding up a bond rating with one hand and writing a six-figure check to a political cronie with the other; where denial is a river in Egypt over which the powers-that-be disavow any control; there is a foul odor emanating from an animal shelter cuddled, coddled and held so dear by a Town Supervisor, if not complicit in purported misdeeds, then, most certainly, more than willing to turn the other cheek.
Abuses at the Town's Special Districts (of which the Town wipes its dirty little hands) is one thing. Abuse at the Town's animal shelter is quite another. Or maybe not. Abuse, of any nature, particularly in the public realm, should not, must not be tolerated, let alone ignored.
Stepping up, taking responsibility, the buck stopping with Town officials, should be the norm in this new age of accountability and transparency. In Hempstead Town, as we've come to learn, Norm is merely the Town Supervisor's father (who spent many years on the Town payroll), and passing the buck (as it is pulled screaming from the taxpayers' wallets), is as close as one comes to a public reckoning.
Town of Hempstead residents seem to be blase about the evils of special district taxation, patronage and cronyism, a complete lack of oversight (in and out of town hall), and the general decline (if not untimely demise) of the unincorporated areas of America's most blighted township. Too bad.
Perhaps, just perhaps, exposing the abuses at the Town's Animal Shelter, "administrative" (as in, "where the heck did they spend more than 7 million dollars?"), if not otherwise, will awaken the sensibilities deadened by the excess enjoyment which has accompanied years of paying more and getting less.
The quality of life for each of us is diminished by acts of neglect, be they benign or overt. Surely, we expected more for our fine, furry friends who unwittingly find themselves under what appears to be the heavy hand of the Town of Hempstead.
Our take is that, in Hempstead Town, at least, "Home for the Holidays" will have a whole new meaning this year!
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From Long Island Newsday:
Rescue groups air concerns over Hempstead animal shelter
by WILL VAN SANT / firstname.lastname@example.org
As the Nassau district attorney's office continues its probe of Hempstead Town's animal shelter, local rescuers with long-standing concerns about a bloated budget and abuse of dogs and cats at the agency are saying, "Told you so."
At a town meeting this week, rescuers said animals had been subjected to severe neglect and horrific abuse.
While they won't give specifics, officials insist problems at the shelter don't involve animal abuse.
The town banned several rescuers from the shelter in late October after its own, ongoing, internal investigation and it remains unclear what role, if any, they play in the scandal. For years, the rescuers had sought to find homes for animals at the shelter, which practices euthanasia.
Town officials, who contacted the district attorney last month, would not say why the rescuers had been barred. Supervisor Kate Murray said she was surprised by the abuse allegations, and none of the rescuers had gone to the district attorney with such charges.
Murray wouldn't offer details on the town or the district attorney's investigations, but said administrative matters, not animal abuse, are the focus.
Acting shelter director Charles Milone, a Hempstead employee for eight years, and adoption coordinator Regina Thorne, an employee for 24 years, have been transferred from their jobs pending the outcome of the probes. Milone and Thorne continue to collect annual salaries of $122,559 and $83,612 respectively.
The shelter has a budget of $7.1 million this year.
Frances Lucivero, a Levittown rescuer who was banned from the shelter, said neither she nor any of the other barred rescuers had spoken with the district attorney's office. Lucivero said she didn't know what the office, which declined to discuss the investigation, was looking into, but doesn't think it has to do with rescue work at the shelter. Lucivero said too little of the shelter's money is used to help the animals and she would like to see a full-time staff veterinarian and an animal behaviorist.
"They have a $7 million budget," Lucivero said, "and that outrages me as a taxpayer."
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"Thank You So Much For Yor Patronage"
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Folow-Up from the Town of Hempstead: http://toh.li/content/home/news/ashelteragenda.html
[If only they would care for the humans in their care...]
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What You Can Do To Help: http://www.hopeforhempsteadshelter.com/getinvolved.html