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Hundreds Protest at Hempstead Animal Shelter

Three demonstrators hold up signs in protest. (By: Rashed Mian)

Hundreds of animal lovers lined the sidewalk outside the Hempstead Animal Shelter on Saturday to voice their concerns over high-wages and the treatment of animals at the shelter.

“Stop the killing,” and chants of “Fire Pat Horan” were heard throughout the afternoon.


Demonstrators–many of them playing with their own dogs– were calling for former acting director, Pat Horan, to be fired after a 17-year-old video surfaced earlier in the week. The disturbing video documents Horan and other workers at the animal shelter making jokes as they prepare to euthanize the black-and-white kitty.

The video shows Horan smiling and laughing and sticking up the middle-finger at the camera as the defenseless cat is rolled in. Town of Hempstead Communications Director Michael Deery said Horan denies that it is her voice that is heard when an off-camera worker shouts, “Kill the kitty, Kill the Kitty!”

Derek Donnelly, director of Hope for Hempstead Shelter, organized a demonstration outside the animal shelter after the video was released. He called for state authorities and the district attorney to investigate the shelter, and said, the shelter should be privatized and allow volunteers to run the facility “at a fraction of the cost that it’s costing the taxpayers right now.”

One of the demonstrators, Stephanie Capuano of Wantagh said, “I’m just so sick and appalled. Twenty years of this, we need an overhaul,” she said as demonstrators chanted “shame on you,” referring to lawmakers and workers in the shelter.

George Bombard of Farmingdale stood by the driveway of the animal shelter holding up a large picture of his 2-year-old dog–Tobie–who he adopted from the shelter.

“Tobie was in a cage for one year, and they had on the cage that he bites, so nobody would go near the cage,” Bombard said as he held up Tobie’s picture. He does not bite, Bombard said, and Tobie “is the best little dog you can have.”

The animal shelter was open during the protest.  Police blocked the doorway of the facility and put up yellow tape to stop demonstrators from protesting on the property.

As for Horan, she has been reassigned, according to Deery, pending the outcome of an investigation. And he said, “[Hempstead Town] Supervisor [Kate Murray] has been advised and was shocked and appalled by the content on the video.”

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