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North Fork Animal Welfare League's Solar Installation Project Celebrates Pawsitive Launch

Estelle found her forever home. (Courtesy Photo)

The mission of the not-for-profit North Fork Animal Welfare League (NFAWL), which operates animal shelters in the towns of Southold and Riverhead, is as simple as it is noble, which is to create "A community free of homeless, unwanted, abandoned animals," and to ensure that animals in the community are free of abuse and neglect.

Animal care services include control and sheltering services such as returning lost animals; finding forever homes for homeless animals; providing shelter and humane care for animals in need; providing relief of suffering among animals; reducing unwanted births of animals, enforcing laws related to dog control, and out-reach and education programs to prevent cruelty to animals.

As municipal shelter operators, NFAWL's services are not just for dogs and cats but other small animals including bunnies and hamsters, as well as assisting with rescuing wildlife. "Doors are open to all animals within the townships that have no other refuge, regardless of breed, age or temperament."

On July 17, at 11:00 a.m. NFAWL will celebrate the completion of a Solar Panel project at the Southold Animal Shelter with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony open to the public. Attendees include Southold Supervisor Scott Russell, members of the Town Board and SUNation. It should be noted that this is the "first-of-its-kind" in New York State. Both the Town of Southold and SUNation have been integral partners in seeing this project through to completion.

"The newly installed solar panels are projected to pay for themselves over the next nine and a half years, although the cost-saving has already begun. The panels on the Southold Animal Shelter's roof supply the structure with power. Funding for the solar panels for the North Fork Animal Welfare League's Southold Animal Shelter was facilitated by a donation from the nonprofit Southold Raynor Animal Shelter Foundation ($160,000) and the State Energy Research and Development Authority ($100,000)," according to NFAWL Manager of Development Denise LeBeau.

Executive Director Gillian Pultz relayed, "The project, which has been in the works for awhile, is a legacy left by a compassionate couple who would be thrilled to know it's having a sustainable beneficial impact on the whole community. The Raynors were huge supporters of the homeless animals of the North Fork and we know they would be very pleased to learn their money was used not just to decrease the facility's carbon footprint but also as a shelter to the elements for our dogs."

Supervisor Russell emphasizes the boon to the entire community by being fiscally responsible, in addition to creating a better all-around environment for the outdoor animals during the day. "This project addresses three critical needs - the sheltering of the animals, the use of alternative energy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and of cost, plus passing on the savings to benefit the taxpayers. We are excited to see the project operating and everyone who had a hand in making it happen should be very proud."

This is yet another first for NFAWL - "In 1980, NFAWL was one of the first not-for-profit organizations in the state of New York and the first Humane Organization on Long Island to contract with a town."

Additionally, NFAWL has dog control officers on hand 24 hours a day to "Pick up lost or escaped dogs and pick up lost companion animals." The organization maintains an "Open door policy for community's dogs and cats without homes, and provides immediate veterinary care for the sick. Every dog and cat is vaccinated and gets a complete checkup." The organization stresses that no companion animal is ever killed because it is homeless.

For more information on NFAWL go to nfawl.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.

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