State funding for the Companion Animal Capital Fund, a grant opportunity that provides up to $500,000 for animal shelter improvements, was restored in this year’s state budget. Saugerties town officials are planning to build a new shelter entirely, and move it to a more visible location. While the location and design for the shelter have yet to be drawn up, Town Supervisor Fred Costello Jr. said that officials will decide in a matter of months.
“We adopt out 320 animals now per year. If the program was not restrained by our building it could easily adopt out 500 animals per year and that’s kind of a goal number we’re setting for ourselves,” said Costello. “We have a lot to do though, we need to confirm the site of the new shelter, we need to have preliminary drawings for the proposal of the new shelter and we have to make sure that all those proposals are viable and still submit the grant in time. The leading scenario is that we would move the shelter to a move visible location. As part of the grant submissions we’re going to have to say where the shelter will be, so that leaves us a small window to find a suitable piece of land for the shelter.”
The Saugerties animal shelter on Route 212, a repurposed garage with a leaky roof, dysfunctional septic system, porous floors, significant mold and inadequate facilities for the animals’ needs, sought the opportunity in 2018 but a town grant writer missed the application deadline.
Adele Zindemann, the daughter of shelter-starter Marie Post who manages the Saugerties Animal Welfare Fund, took it upon herself to begin raising money toward the cause and to petition government officials to reinstate state funding, which had been dropped from a previous state budget. Now, with a grant application due in November, Zindemann is already making moves to apply again for the grant.
“I’m not losing any time on it, that’s why I arranged a meeting today to meet a grant writer,” said Zindemann. “She has done other shelter grants before, and in New York state six of them have gotten in. I’m using her privately and we’re paying for her via our organization. We’re on top of it, we’re making sure that it’s going to get done. The grant opportunity doesn’t open up in July. Today we figured out a packet of what we need to do.”
Zindemann said she paid for the grant writer via the Saugerties Animal Welfare Fund, which will also cover any project costs not covered by the grant, and money willed to the town for the project by resident Mary Bradford upon her death. These two sources should cover, according to Costello, 80 percent of the project costs. Zindemann said that additional, smaller grants would also be sought out for the project. The remainder of the bill, Zindemann said, will be paid for through the Saugerties Animal Welfare fund, and a capital campaign that has yet to begin. The fund currently pays for vet bills and for items needed at the shelter. Salt and Soul, an area business, held a fundraiser in late June that raised $1,200 toward the cause.
“It will be gracious people that will help our efforts,” said Zindemann. “We will be very creative and very busy.”
Donations to the shelter, whether they are toward its current operations or for a new building, can be made out to the Saugerties Animal Welfare Fund and sent to town hall at 4 High St., Saugerties, NY 12477. The shelter is open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily except Sunday and Monday. For more information, or to inquire about holding a fundraiser, call the shelter at (845) 679-0339.