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Jan 14, 2013 2:20 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town And Animal Shelter Ink New Contract

Jan 15, 2013 4:32 PM

The Southampton Town Board approved a new contract for the operation of the Southampton Animal Shelter last month, renewing its three-year-old partnership with the private foundation that was formed to save the shelter from closing.

The new contract continues the operating agreement with the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation for another three years, with only slight changes.

“We are very excited to have extended our agreement with the town,” said the president of the foundation’s board of directors, John McCann. “Our partnership has been so successful the past three years—we’re very pleased, and I think the town is very pleased as well.”

Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said the town has indeed been very happy with the foundation’s operation of the shelter, which was reflected in the Town Board’s unanimous approval of the contract extension.

Mr. McCann touted the improvements in the shelter’s operations since the foundation took over its management. Adoption rates have jumped by 43 percent, he said, and the shelter’s “live release” rate has climbed to 94 percent, putting it in the top 10 percent of shelters nationwide.

He said the foundation has ambitious plans for further improvements in the next three years. Continuing to increase adoption rates is a top priority, he said, as is expanding a public awareness campaign about the importance of neutering household pets. The shelter plans to increase its veterinary service, particularly with regard to spaying and neutering, and will embark on a fund-raising campaign to finance renovations to the shelter’s on-site veterinary clinic.

He said that efforts to change the public perception of pit bull-type breeds, which make up a substantial portion of shelter dogs and are typically difficult to find new owners for, is something the shelter staff wants to work on as well.

The shelter’s new executive director, Hope Gamble, who took over just three weeks ago on the heels of two very short-lived predecessors, said she has a number of plans for the operation of the shelter and the new thrift store, and would be meeting for the first time with the shelter’s board of directors this month.

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