A new board took over the city-owned animal shelter in Glen Cove last year, and now, approaching the one-year anniversary, board members of Cove Animal Rescue are pleased with what they have accomplished.
“We came in March 1 and our primary goal was to get more animals adopted,” said Betty Geiger, a member of the board of directors. “We also wanted to make the shelter itself a more pleasant place to visit.”
It started with renovations and clean up that took several weeks. The other goal was to create as much of a cage-free environment as possible. Out front, they built dog runs on “doggie astro turf” with an extensive dry well system underneath so the dogs can get more fresh air and exercise. Geiger said it was expensive, but worth it. As the dogs also get walked by employees and volunteers routinely, she said the dogs are doing well and all but two of the dogs they inherited have been adopted out.
Having trainers come in regularly to work with dogs has also made an impact. Those considering adoption are encouraged to come in and meet the animals as often as they’d like before making a decision.
“Every little bit of human contact helps the dog to become more adoptable,” said Geiger, who volunteered as a dog walker at the shelter prior to the change in ownership. “Even if they don’t decide to [adopt], they’ve made a huge contribution in time and energy.”
The space for the cats has also gotten an overhaul. They expanded the space, turning a screened in porch into a space for cats that is still undergoing renovations. The addition will have heat and air conditioning, windows and things for the cats to climb on, in a walled off, larger area and will have a cat door that goes to a screened in porch.
Currently, the shelter is home to about 85 cats and 11 dogs. Another service they have been proactive about is reducing the feral cat population in Glen Cove. They pay local veterinarians to neuter feral cats that they trap and then release back into their colonies. Geiger said that so far, unlike neighboring communities, the city has not yet had a kitten season, so they think the work they did of neutering last summer has made a dent in the feral cat population.
The shelter is run by a board of seven volunteers and a staff of about 10 part-time employees. They rely heavily on volunteers and donations. The building is owned by the city and they do get a stipend, but Geiger said donations help cover the cost of salaries, construction and general care of the animals. Currently, about 40 volunteers regularly devote time to walking the dogs and helping out at the shelter.
They have some events planned for the spring to help spread the word and raise more money, including a bingo fundraiser on Sunday, March 13, a ribbon cutting in April and gala on May 12.
Since the beginning, they have a had a lot of people volunteer their time in other ways to help, from advertising to painting.
“The people who came out to help were just amazing, whether it was small or big,” said Geiger. “Everybody brings a unique talent.”
Volunteers are always welcome, though children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent. Geiger said they have a good group and a devoted staff. She has been there every day over the past year and is not only happy with the results, she has been enjoying her job.
“Every day has been fun,” said Geiger.
For more information, visit www.coveanimalrescue.org.