After receiving hundreds of complaints concerning the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said this week that his office will audit the shelter’s financial operations in the coming weeks.
DiNapoli said in a statement that fieldwork will begin shortly. He decided to audit the embattled taxpayer funded shelter after receiving complaints from concerned individuals and at the request of Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
“Our goal is to ensure the integrity of financial accountability related to the Hempstead Animal Shelter,” DiNapoli said.
Rice, who is conducting her own investigation into the shelter, said, “This audit is essential to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being properly spent on the care and well-being of the animals at the Hempstead town shelter.”
An audit engagement letter was sent to Town Supervisor Kate Murray’s office earlier this week.
The town issued a statement through a spokeswoman, saying: “Issues at the animal shelter have been politicized by some disgruntled people for over a year. We welcome the state comptroller’s audit.
“Two state reviews of shelter operations within the past year gave the town top ratings in all categories. We are confident that this state review will affirm the fact that the shelter is well run and government funds are spent for the care and well being of our animals.”
The animal shelter has come under fire recently for allegations of animal abuse and its highly paid staff. Three local volunteer rescuers, who have been barred from the facility, filed a lawsuit against the town, Murray, former Acting Shelter Director Pat Horan, and others in December.
Earlier this year, animal lovers repeatedly rallied outside the shelter in Wantagh after a 17-year-old video surfaced reportedly documenting Horan and other workers at the facility making jokes as they prepared to euthanize a black-and-white kitten.
Horan was later reassigned pending the outcome of an investigation. The town has since appointed a new director to oversee the shelter.