Rebuild Hi Tor Fundraising Efforts Kicks Off

They are negotiating with the County for 10 acres for the new animal shelter and an expansion of Hi Tor’s lease on the land. The full cost of the new shelter will be fundraised through donations.


Cages of cats stack on top of each other in the small reception room. The roof is in disrepair and not structurally sound. The animals are overcrowded and dozens of cats and dogs are displaced in foster homes due to lack of space.

This is the current state of the Hi Tor Animal Care Center, which was built in 1973.  As Rockland County’s only animal shelter, Hi-Tor is at risk of shutting down. The county gave $49,000 this year and with the county and town combined, Hi-Tor received $190,000 in funds for the year.

However, that’s not enough to keep the shelter running in its current condition so Hi-Tor has relied heavily on public donations. As of the end of June, Hi-Tor has received $100,000 in donated funds from the public.

With the lack of county funding, several members of the public have teamed up with Hi-Tor to form a plan to save the shelter.

Don Franchino revealed the fundraising plan that he’s spearheading. Franchino, of Nanuet, runs a New City All State office with his sons and is known in the community for his successful fundraising efforts. After 30 years, some of his triumphs include the and more recently, the .

Now he’s turned his sights to Hi-Tor. 

Here’s an outline of his plan

  • Fundraise at least $650,000 and ask for donation of professional services, such as electricians, plumbers, carpenters, masons and sheet metal specialists
  • They are currently negotiating with the County for an expansion of the lease on the land where the present shelter exists. The cost of the county for the entire project will be $0
  • Request a 10-acre site from the county leased to Hi-Tor to be cleared and prepared for the new animal shelter. This land will be leased to Hi-Tor for 99 years for $1.
  • Work with Houndquarters, based out of Plano, TX, to build the new facility. They have set blue prints and the square footage depends on the amount of money raised
  • The new building will be built in front of the current building. What is to become of the current building is up to the Hi-Tor Board.
  • The current building is 3200 sq. ft and Franchino is looking to have the new building will be a modern facility and be at least 30,000 sq. ft.
  • Hi-Tor will still be contracted with the county, but the operation of the new shelter will remain with the not for profit Hi-To Animal Shelter

The new shelter will include:

  • Kennels that will be able to house up to 100 dogs of varying sizes (if needed)
  • A separate area to house up to 80 cats (if needed). It will be one cat to one cage
  • A separate quarantine section for emergency rescue
  • Two grooming rooms
  • A vet clinic on site
  • Employee bathroom/shower facility
  • Separate laundry facility
  • Adoption center for cats and dogs
  • Sound proof building (to address the issue of fireworks at Provident Bank Park—Rockland Boulders Stadium)
  • Separate ventilation for kennel and common areas
  • A/C and heat
  • Adequate parking and walking trails for volunteers
  • Separate area to house other animals such as rabbits, gerbils, snakes, etc
  • Large reception area

Fundraising Efforts

  • Donations made directly to Rebuild Hi Tor
  • Ability to purchase and sponsor a kennel or cat kennel
  • Purchase a brick memorial as part of the walkway and trails—this will be an ongoing fundraiser after the building’s completion
  • Purchase/sponsorship of any of the building components—grooming room(s), vet clinic, general reception area, dog adoption center, cat adoption center, etc …
  • Fundraising events to support the rebuild effort
  • Future golf outing
  • Grants

The first event is an animal art exhibit on July 25 at the Blue Hill Center in Pearl River. A fine art exhibit depicting animals will be hosted by Hi Tor Animal Care Center. Check back with Patch for more information on this event.

How to Help

Thomas Ossa, Rockland Web Design Owner and Rockland Chamber of Commerce organizer, has built a fundraising website for the Rebuild Hi Tor effort.

Send donations to:

Rebuild Hi Tor

PO Box 913, Nanuet, NY 10954

Donation contact number: 845-634-2499

Volunteer for one of these committees:

  • Events
  • Grants
  • Brick Sales
  • Fundraising
  • Public Relations
  • Finance and accounting
  • Site development
  • Construction
Tyler Durden July 12, 2012 at 10:38 AM
This is a brilliant plan for a much needed upgrade at Hi Tor! I'm confident that with this kind of structured organization and planning the public will feel more confident that their donations will be well used.
Robert Ward Kurkela July 12, 2012 at 11:23 AM
Mr. Franchino, thank you! I plan on assisting in the effort and will involve my children. I am also reaching out now to my friends. You are an inspiration to the community.
Mike Hirsch July 12, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Excellent. If you need a CM let me know.
Chris July 12, 2012 at 12:59 PM
This is a great proposal but funding the day to day activities after the rebuild needs to be looked at. Hi-Tor has a very high operating budget and they do not take in sufficient funds and that tis the reason they were talking about shutting down. The Board needs to take a look at everything that is done at the shelter and cut down on waste and excessive things and they need to gear up on frund raising as that certainly has been lacking as of late.
Mary July 12, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Isn't the property located in front of the shelter state owned? I thought it was donated by an individual to the state to be kept as open space. In addition, according to Hi-Tor, they take in 2,500 animals per year and are having a hard time financially supporting that number of animals. At the capacity of 200 animals at a time and no county funding, how will they be able to cover the cost of housing that number of animals? In a recent article in the JN, President Bangs, stated that their expenses are $600,000+ per year. With building a facility 10 times the size of their current facility, how will they be able to cover the expenses it will take to maintain the new one let alone the additional energy expenses, water, food and paying all staff members, which would also include a vet and a groomer. Many things should be taken into consideration when discussing building a facility of this magnitude, especially all the costs involved once it is completed.
Donald Franchino July 12, 2012 at 07:09 PM
The prosped shelter would be more cost efficent to run. The new structure would include sky lights, solar panels, water flitration system, automatic spray systems to clean the kennels, commputer driven operation of the facility among many other amenities to be more cost efficent then the present facility. The land adjacent to the facuility is county owned, the state owned property is in front but Assemblemen Zebrowski has proposed to de map this area in time for the build. The fund raising events will be ongoing after the build is complete via brick sales, sale of memorial kennels etc within the complex. There is no question that the present facility is obsolete and inadequate. A new shelter is like a new home where all the up to date technology is included. Overall the costs to operate a new facility would be reduced by 30% or more.
Mary July 12, 2012 at 07:45 PM
"Overall the costs to operate a new facility would be reduced by 30% or more."...right now it has been stated that the current operating expenses for the present shelter is approximately $600,000.00...are you saying that the costs of operating the new facility will be 30% less than that?..I doubt it since the new facility is going to be 10 times bigger than the existing one. In addition, what's the plan to support all this new technologically advanced machinery that you plan to install if there is an extended period of time where electricity is lost?...such as we had in October, 2011 when most parts of the county were without power for 6 or 7 days. Also, solar panels are great when the sun is shining, but what happens when there are winters when we have snow storm after snow storm like in 2010?
Donald Franchino July 12, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Mary it is obvious I cannot answer these questions through this media. Attend One of the information meetings I am going to hold. Operating costs will be driven down with a new facility that either way will be and has to be built.
Mike Hirsch July 12, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Don, I heard that the Highview Playground project was a huge success. I look forward to meeting you.
Rob Green July 14, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Mary, I guess your solution is just to kill the homeless animals? Would you like to press the button to kill them? Instead of being so negative, let's all work together to make this work and give our homeless animals a state of the art facility to live in while awaiting their forever homes. I am not sure what your motovation for your negative attitude except maybe you have no heart or soul for the poor homeless animals of this, one of the richest counties in the nation.
Robert Ward Kurkela July 14, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Mike, I'll admit, I had to Google CM but I still don't know what you are offering me! ~ Bob
Robert Ward Kurkela July 14, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Right on Rob. Mary, please heed Rob's words and let's work together to solve this problem. Thanks.
Mike Hirsch July 14, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Construction Manager. I've been doing just that for the last 35 years.
John Taggart July 14, 2012 at 03:14 PM
I didn't see any thing about solar, but every one should have some on their roof if aplicable. Solar is just a supplement, you use gas for heat, and stay on the grid at night ect. If this new facility can afford solar. It can keep the ac and or fans on during the day during a power failure, very important. And drastically reduce electric bills for the life of the facility
Mary July 15, 2012 at 11:31 PM
John: Mr. Franchino mentioned solar panels in his response to me... Rob: Because I'm asking questions, you accuse me of wanting to kill all the animals. How can a group of people solve any problems when some of those people will go to such extremes. No, I do not want to kill any animals. I am just being realistic. With the high level of unemployment, the number of people currently on food stamps and the amount of foreclosures in the county, I don't see how people are going to be able to donate the amount of money necessary to build and maintain a facility of this size. Why not build something smaller and more manageable.
Rob Green July 16, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Again Mary, you are just a very negative person. It also be great if you knew what you are talking about, but, you don't. Rockland is one of the wealthiest counties in this nation and can well afford to fund a decent animal shelter, but, since the county politicians seem more interested in wasting our tax money, we will fund it ourselves with donations. Rockland County's unemployement is at 7%, much lower then the national average and 3rd lowest in NY State. Foreclosures in Rockland County are half the national average and concentrated in a few, low income areas. So, keep your negativity to yourself and the rest of us will build this state of the art animal care center for the benefit of our homeless animals.
Mary July 16, 2012 at 09:16 AM
Go for it Rob...but, maybe the people who run the shelter should stop crying when they run out of money. Why do you have to build a "state of the art" facility? Isn't a loving caring environment the most important aspect to a shelter? They don't care what type of facility they're housed in as long as it's clean, they get feed, walked, cared for and loved. It seems that having a "state of the art facility" is more important to the humans running the show.
Chris July 16, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Mr. Green, you took a very negative tone with Mary and the purpose of this discussion area is not to accuse other posters of things such as ":wanting to kill animals". I wish you all a lot of luck in your pursuit of this "state of the art facility" because you are going to need it. I don't believe that Mary is being negative, she is merely being realistic in the current financial climate of the county. If this county was doing so well, then perhaps Spring Valley would still have an Animal Control office position and a contract with Hi-Tor Animal Care Center for services.
Michael Truiano July 16, 2012 at 11:01 PM
It will be realistic if Don Franchino is involved. Don, make sure i'm on your email list. Looking forward to helping.
Chris October 01, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Half of the Board of Directors needs to go. The entire staff needs to be shown the door and if they want to apply for positions there, then they need to prove that they are competnent and skilled. The Executive Director and the Board President have been running the place like their own personal playground. No one really knows what the Shelter Manager does but no one addresses these issues. Hi-Tor is the elephant in the room and throwing money at them will not help. If they are able to get any land, it will be something short of a miracle. I actually feel sorry for all these good hearted people that are volunteering their efforts. It is a lost cause.


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