Southampton Animal Shelter asks town for long-term lease

Gimme Shelter

Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation Executive Director Jerry Rosenthal asks the board to extend the non-profit’s lease at a December 13 work session. Independent/Desirée Keegan

Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation has been helping homeless animals, reconnecting strays, saving others from kill shelters, and finding them forever homes since it became a non-profit in 2010.

Over those eight years, the shelter has brought in over 11,000 animals, adopted out 6500 and reunited 2200 strays with their families. More than 33,000 others have been treated by the non-profit’s medical team. The foundation started several initiatives like Advo-Cats, which traps, neuters and releases strays; the Humane Education program, a school-based initiative, which 500 kids have participated in, to teach them compassion and empathy; and dog training through the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office Riverhead Correctional Facility. As its 2020 lease agreement nears expiration with Southampton Town, Executive Director Jerry Rosenthal is hoping to renegotiate a 20- or 30-year one.

“The animal shelter’s board is undertaking a long-term strategic plan to chart its course for the future, and as part of that process, we’re looking to form a long-term commitment with the town,” he told the town board during a December 13 work session. “I think our partnership has proved very successful for both parties.”

He said his board is looking to expand and enhance the facility while expanding the types of services it provides.

“That takes a commitment of capital,” he said. “We’re looking to renegotiate so that we can go out and continue to perform the work that we’re doing. We want to see what kind of commitment we’ll have with the town first so we know where we can go and how we can proceed.”

The shelter is on town property and in a town building, although the town has stepped away from maintaining it. According to Rosenthal, the support the non-profit gets from the town is a little less than 10 percent of its total operating budget, fundraising for the rest. Southampton Animal Shelter’s budget is $2.7 million, raised through fees and services and donations.

Southampton has a similar relationship with Southampton Youth Services Inc., where it upped government funds to help with the operation, but put the onus for building upkeep, like maintaining the boiler and fixing the roof on SYS. Rosenthal said he isn’t looking to be fully responsible for the building, but would work on reaching a negotiation with the town.

“If we’re talking about a longer-term contract, I think it should be on the table that we look at you maintaining the building inside and out,” Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said. “I’m a big fan of the work you guys do as a no-kill shelter, and your fundraising ability is extraordinary. I just think it’s easier for us if we go in that direction.”

You can find pictures of the animals up for adoption on the foundation’s website at The shelter is open 10 AM to 5 PM seven days a week. For more information or to adopt a pet, call 631-728-7387.