Log In   ·   Become A Member

Michelle Neufeld Montak: A Pawsitive Protector For Animals


Gimme Shelter Animal Rescue founder Michelle Neufeld Montak is all smiles with her four-footed friends, Otis, Lulu, Breaker and Donni. (Photo: Liz Stavrinides)

Michelle Neufeld Montak loves, saves and protects animals, dogs in particular have captured her heart. Having spent numerous years in the real estate business, Montak has always devoted her extra time to volunteer work, such as Meals on Wheels and Make A Wish Foundation, however, her love and appreciation for our four-footed friends always seemed to lead her back to animals.

In 2011, Montak founded, and is Director of Gimme Shelter Animal Rescue (GSAR). Honoring her own late dog "Otis" who she shared her life with for 16 years, the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization is based in Sagaponack. Its mission is as simple as it is unfortunately necessary - "Rescue animals who are on death row in high kill facilities across the country." The organization also spays, neuters, vaccinates, and microchips all rescued animals - and picks up the tab for all medical costs prior to adoption.

To date, GSAR has rescued, fostered and cared for more than 2,000 animals which have been placed in forever homes. Montak says, "I feel honored to give these precious animals, who would otherwise not stand a chance, the wonderful lives that they deserve with people who cherish them."

Generating a network of foster parents, donors, volunteers and supporters has evolved over the last few years, and now occupies Montak's full-time. Generating continued interest and funds to keep these animals safe, that too is also full-time, and along with her husband, Edward, and their four dogs, these are the barking orders Montak has graciously assumed. As their slogan states, "Saving one dog won't change the world...but surely the world will change for that one dog."

Montak answered a few questions for Hamptons.com:

How does a background in real estate evolve into saving animals?

MNM: I've always loved animals. My mother will tell you that as soon as I was old enough to walk I would chase after every dog and cat that was anywhere near me. When I lived in Toronto I was in real estate. But when I moved to New York to marry my husband Edward, I attended a fundraiser for a rescue and little did I know that day would change my life forever!

How difficult is it to constantly obtain the necessary funds to save and medically treat all these animals?

MNM: Fundraising is always a challenge for any nonprofit organization. We are very lucky to be located in an area where people truly love animals and have the means to donate to help us save lives. We believe that every dog is worth saving regardless of age, breed or medical condition. We rescue senior dogs, dogs who have been injured or have heartworm. These dogs need extensive medical care above and beyond the basic vetting we do prior to adoption and we rely heavily on donations to help these dogs.

The organization is based in a well-known affluent area, have you found the response equals more dollars than would be available elsewhere in the country?

MNM: Most likely Yes! There are so many wonderful animal lovers out here in The Hamptons who have the financial means to help. They choose to support our life saving work because they truly love animals and feel what we do is very important.

What is an average fostering time period?

MNM: Anywhere from a few days to a few months depending on the dog.

Gimme Shelter Animal Rescue has rescued, fostered and cared for more than 2,000 animals. (Photo Courtesy of GSAR)


What percentage, if any, of foster families have eventually become forever families?

MNM: Oh in the rescue world we call them "Foster Failures." LOL - I can't say in terms of percentages but we definitely have fosters who fall in love and can't let the dog go. That's cool as long as they keep fostering.

How is the decision made on which kill areas you focus on?

MNM: We rescue animals who are on death row in very rural shelters in the south as well as local shelters like the ACC in New York City and Brooklyn. We try to save dogs who will otherwise die in a gas chamber or by heart stick. Both are very cruel and barbaric kill methods.

How many animals are currently with foster parents?

MNM: We have a total of about 25-30 animals currently in foster homes between New York and South Carolina.

Do you have many families that adopt more than one animal?

MNM: Absolutely! When you love animals it's next to impossible to only have one. We get a lot of repeat adopters.

Are you involved in any legislation that might generate local or state laws to protect animals in kill zones throughout the country?

MNM: I hope to have the time to get involved on that end one day. For now running the daily rescue operations keeps me so busy I barely have time to brush my hair.

Do you remember the first animal you saved and who was eventually placed in a forever home?

MNM: One of the very first dogs I saved from a kill shelter in the south was a sweet black lab named Emma who was found wandering - a stray with two of her pups. Of course we rescued momma and her babies. Emma was lucky to get fostered and then adopted by Ellen and Chuck Scarborough. They are amazing people and needless to say she has an incredible life now.

When someone knowingly and actively chooses to make a difference in the lives of others with such positive and life-saving efforts, we applaud them both in our hearts and in our responses, Michele Neufeld Montak has earned the appaws for not only the human lives her organization has changed, but most importantly, the lives of dogs that have been rescued, saved, loved, nurtured and cared for by this wonderful lady and this wonderful organization.

Be sure to see Hamptons.com's coverage of Gimme Shelter's recent 5th Annual Summer Event: Fur, Fun And Focus For A Fabulous Evening.

For more information go to gimmeshelteranimalrescue.org.


Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.




Related Articles:

Be the first to comment on this article. (Just fill out the form below)
 

Submit Your Comment

Please note, you are not currently logged in. Your comment will be submitted as a guest.
To submit your comment as a member, please click here.
Your Name:
Location:*
Comments:*
* Comments will be reviewed and posted in a timely fashion
* All fields are required
Question:*
Please type the word 'water'
(For spam prevention, thanks)
 
 
/gallery/ads/1213.gif?u=1614331119
/gallery/ads/2229.jpg?u=1614331119
/gallery/ads/2227.jpg?u=1614331119
East End Tick Control
The East End's only New York State licensed dedicated tick and mosquito control specialists!

Southampton Masonry-Visiting the Southampton or the Wainscott locations is an exciting experience.
Southampton Masonry has been serving Long Island's masonry and tile needs since 1975. Delivering quality products from Manhattan to Montauk for over three decades. The company's continued success is due primarily to their number one priority: customer satisfaction, with a promise of prompt and courteous service from the professional, knowledgeable staff. Southampton Masonry has the largest inventory on the east end. As direct importers they can offer a large variety of the finest quality products at the most competitive pricing for both your interior and exterior projects.

Southrifty Drug 54 Jagger Lane, Southampton Village
Southrifty Drug is a small, neighborhood pharmacy with limited shelf space, and we have to be very selective about which over-the-counter items we carry. As a result you'll find a no nonsense concentration of very effective, high quality and useful products on our shelves. In this new section, we feature a number of these products that we feel are especially worthy of your consideration.

Burner Law Group, P.C.
Burner Law Group, P.C. are full service elder law attorneys concentrating in the areas of Estate Planning, Trust and Estate Administration and Litigation, Special Needs Planning, Guardianship and Elder Law. Offices in East Setauketé NY, Westhampton Beach, NY, and New York, NY.

New York Title Abstract Services, Inc.
We are a title insurance services company dedicated to promptly delivering fully compliant and accurate reports, and title insurance, for residential and commercial real estate throughout New York State. Headquartered in the Hamptons, our professional team has extensive real estate experience and understands the business from all sides including title insurance, legal, sales, governmental, banking, and lending regulations.

Aimee Fitzpatrick Martin, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Considered a West of the Shinnecock Canal expert with a 5-star Zillow ranking, Aimee specializes in the luxury and waterfront markets in Quogue, Westhampton Beach, Remsenburg, East Quogue and Hampton Bays. With exceptional communication skills and a buttoned-up approach to every deal, she is highly skilled in the art of the negotiation process. Understanding the nuances of buying and selling waterfront homes, especially on Dune Road, is a specialty.