'Filth beyond description.' New managers commit to cleaning up Hi Tor animal shelter
The new managers of the Hi Tor Animal Care Center say it was "heartbreaking" entering the property and seeing the state the facility was in.
"There was filth beyond description. Mold was found, feces on the wall," says Nixie Gueits. "There was an absolute lack of follow-up regarding basic sanitary shelter cleaning protocols. Zero."
Her and Michael Sanducci are the new managers of the animal shelter.
Gerard Damiani is the executive director at Rockland Green, the stewards of the Hi-Tor shelter since January.
"A picture's worth a thousand words, the place was left a mess," he said.
Damiani says the new team found documents hidden by the previous owner in a freezer box meant for dead animals.
But the last straw, and the reason he ousted the Hi-Tor animal shelter board, was a deadly outbreak of a feline virus that went uncontrolled for weeks.
"We're aware of 35 cats that have died related to the outbreak," said Damiani.
A subsequent visit to the shelter was done by the New York State Animal Protection Federation, which advocates for shelter animals. They found, "piles of garbage and trash, piles of kennels and cages and other debris."
Their report goes on to say, "Hi Tor, in its entirety is an unacceptable shelter to house companion animals."
Rockland Green terminated its contract with Hi Tor on Sept. 21.
Gueits and Sanducci took over immediately and have been working nonstop to bring the shelter to a satisfactory condition.
"We have a long road ahead of us," said Sanducci.
He says finding medical records has been "nearly impossible" and that the entire property needs a "deep clean."
Once they've got things under control, they plan to call on families in the area to serve as fosters for animals. Anyone interested is urged to contact them.