The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons is looking to upgrade and expand its Pet Evacuation Center, which has been available to the community since 2004.
The organization, located on Daniel’s Hole Road in Wainscott, is seeking approval from the East Hampton Town Planning Board to go forward with interior changes and upgrade its sanitary system in order to provide a more comfortable environment for the animals it shelters in emergencies, according to Sara Davison, ARF’s executive director.
“It is just difficult to clean and care for 20 dogs at a time in the crates and sometimes they have to stay down there for more than a few days, especially if they are sick with an infectious disease,” she said. “When a hurricane or fire strikes, we want to be ready to house the community’s pets in a comfortable, hygienic environment.”
According to Ms. Davison, within the pet evacuation center/basement, ARF hopes to install a new concrete floor that would be easier to clean, with new walls and a new ceiling, an upgraded heating and air-conditioning system, a draining system for sanitation and 28 permanent kennels.
She said the upgrades would make it more efficient to clean and would be more comfortable for the animals, especially with the bigger kennels that would replace the crates ARF has now. She said a professional bath and washer and dryer will also be introduced.
On the first floor of the building, ARF would install new doors, wall finishes, floors and a new heating and air-conditioning system.
Ms. Davison said the center is still grappling with the cost of the upgrades and working to reduce it as much as possible.
Robert Schaeffer, a Planning Board member, said last Wednesday that the plans look fairly simple.
“It’s a necessary expansion of the basement use for ARF, which does much good work for this community, not only in East Hampton but farther west,” he said.
Once ARF gains approval from the Town Architectural Review Board, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services and the Office of Fire Prevention for its plans, it can go ahead with a public hearing before the Planning Board.
Ms. Davison said the changes will allow ARF to continue as the town’s official pet evacuation center.
“If there is an emergency, the community can bring their cats and dogs to ARF if they need to evacuate,” she said. “During instances like Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Irene, we’ve had pets come here a number of times. It’s very important that people don’t leave their pets at home unattended. It may be ideal to leave them with relatives or friends, but sometimes it’s not possible, so put your pet in a safe, pet-designated shelter.”