Shelter Manager Dana Rocco with Cali in current reception area
Assistant Manager Tiffany Rivera with an eminently adoptable Newfoundland
Animal Rescue vehicle outside the construction area
Giving Homeless Pets More Than Shelter
By Melanie Cane
Five years ago, The Humane Society of Westchester began planning a renovation and expansion project for the New Rochelle shelter that would dramatically improve life for the animals, staff, volunteers, and potential adopters. They started fundraising right away, but it took them four years to reach three-quarters of their $4 million goal.
They broke ground at the beginning of February, but construction was halted for two months because of the pandemic regulations. They are still estimating that the project will be complete by early next year.
The architect is Robert Stanziale, who adopted a puppy from the shelter several years ago and is based in New Rochelle. His design nearly doubles the size of the current 7,000 square-foot facility by expanding the first floor and adding a second floor. The entryway, which will extend halfway down the driveway, will include a new reception area, a “get acquainted with the animals” room, as well as a separate area for people who are surrendering pets. The medical area, kennels, and cat room will also be vastly modernized. Cathedral ceilings will bathe the currently dark and uninviting rooms in sunlight. The second floor will house offices and a large multi-function room for meetings, classes, and dog training activities.
The Humane Society not only serves 20 communities in Westchester, but also works with shelters around the country, taking in animals that would otherwise be put down due to overcrowding. In 2019, the Society found “forever” homes for 421 dogs and 771 cats. Throughout the pandemic, they have continued finding homes for animals by scheduling adoptions by appointment and bringing the animals to a sparkling clean room to meet potential adopters.
Shelter Manager Dana Rocco is excited about the renovations. “They will enable us to better serve the public, as well as the animals, by having everyone in a spacious, welcoming environment. We will be able to offer more public education and improve our adoption process as well as our medical care. The animals will be much more comfortable and therefore better adoption candidates.”
Despite the Humane Society’s heroic fundraising efforts, they are still a million dollars short of their goal. If you would like to make a donation, send a check to Humane Society of Westchester, 70 Portman Road, New Rochelle, NY 10801. The shelter is a 5013C.