News

Westchester Animal Shelter Forced To Evacuate Over Building Collapse Concerns

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Westchester County animal shelter is appealing to the public in an effort to find temporary or permanent homes for some furry friends after fears over a possible building collapse forced an emergency evacuation.

As CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported Friday, it was a rushed evacuation of the Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary on South Warehouse Lane in Elmsford, forcing the owners to find homes for the 80 dogs and 80 cats all in one day.

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“We were told by our engineer who assessed the building that it is starting to buckle and could potentially collapse,” said Erin Guilshan, executive director of Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary.

The evacuation began immediately Friday because the cracks were so serious — at least in one instance — you could see right through the concrete wall, Langford reported.

“Our adoption rates are free. We just want them to get into homes at this point,” Guilshan said.

Melanie Haniph told Langford her children have been asking for a dog for months, so when she heard about the evacuation, Haniph decided it was the perfect time to adopt.

“Well we haven’t given her a name yet. We’re thinking about Honey,” Haniph said with her ecstatic children by her side.

Closing down an animal shelter in one day can be hard on the pets.

“It’s stressful for them,” Guilshan said.

While it’s good these pets are finally finding homes, there are some concerns about the consequences of a rushed evacuation.

“It’s a free animal, you can’t guarantee a good owner takes it in,” said Valerie Livingston, of the County Animal Clinic.

Animals that aren’t adopted or taken in will be sent to other shelters in the area, Langford reported.

“Yesterday I never would have guessed that today we would be evacuating the building,” Guilshan said.

Not to mention the public’s tremendous response to the shelter in need.

The shelter said it has every intention of re-opening once the building has been certified safe.

The shelter closed at 6 p.m. Friday, but adoptions can still be arranged.

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