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Bideawee Opens New Prevention Wellness Facility

Quarantine facility will increase number of adoptable pets

Bideawee, one of the country’s oldest animal welfare organizations, opened its new Prevention and Wellness Satellite (PAWS) Program at its Wantagh Campus at 3300 Beltagh Avenue, for pets on March 30. The innovative and cutting-edge PAWS program is the first of its kind in the metro New York area and will consolidate and centralize short-term isolation and care of all incoming cats and dogs to the Bideawee adoption centers in Manhattan and Westhampton.

President and Chief Executive Officer Nancy Taylor said, “This is cutting edge, no body else that we know of has a system like this.” She said Bideawee’s goal by introducing this new program is to increase adoptable animals in their system by 10 percent and decrease operation costs and to decrease Bideawee’s medical costs by having all animals needing specialized care to be centrally located and being taken care of one specially trained team.

On the day that Anton Newspapers visited the isolation unit there were 28 cats and 15 dogs, but more than 75 animals have received treatment at the new facility over the past two months.

Taylor explained that Bideawee has had PAWS as a goal for some time, but adequate transportation for the animals between their two adoption centers from a quarantine center was also the issue until recently. Bideawee applied for a $50,000 grant from a private donor for a customized transport vehicle. They grant was approved and the van was ordered in January. On June 1, the van was delivered to the Wantagh site, built specifically for animal transport, complete with more than seven individual cages that can be adjusted to accommodate any sized animal. The floor of the van has drains built in for easy clean and disinfection and the climate controlled from the main cabin.

Lead facility technician Brianna Rasmuson explained that many times an incoming animal appears healthy when they arrive at an adoption facility, but an underlying illness may not appear for several days.

Incoming pets may have conditions like fleas, ringworm, and infections, or other issues.  “We’ve always kept our own animals in isolation before adoption; to decrease the spread of disease among healthy animals,” Taylor explained.

The goal will grow to include taking in all injured or sick animals from municipal shelters, local rescues, individuals who can no longer keep their pets for various reasons, animal control, and other adoption facilities for two weeks before introducing them for adoption at the Bideawee’s Westhapton or Manhattan adoption shelters.

As Bideawee has adoption space freed up in its own facility, the routinely travel to other shelters and take adoptable animals to a Bideawee facility, increasing the chance for these animals to be adopted and taken home.

Bideawee’s process is a selective admission. All incoming animals are evaluated medical and behavior. Interventions can often make the animals adoptable. Bideawee is a no-kill facility, meaning adoptable animals stay at Bideawee as long as it takes for them to be placed, as in the case of one cat that Taylor said has been at her office for about six years already.  

Bideawee will now transport its own incoming animals for observation and treatment if needed, staying for a quarantine of 14 days, or longer if there is an issue that needs longer treatment or observation. Once an animal is then cleared by the treatment facility, it is moved now to either of its shelters.  

In 2008, like many organizations, a drop in donations and financial support affected Bideawee and it was forced to close its Wantagh adoption facility; it could no longer maintain three active adoption shelters. The building remained vacant for several years while Bideawee sought organizations with like-minded causes.

Bideawee partnered with Last Hope Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation to help consolidate and expand its services. Last Hope now rents a portion of the original adoption facility. The Town of Hempstead also has used a portion of the facility to house its animals while the town’s animal shelter was updating its HVAC system in the town’s building. The town moved their animals to the Bideawee facility for the past seven months, while renovations were taking place at the adjacent facility.

In addition, Bideawee shares space with the Pet Safe Coalition, a disaster preparedness team that activates during situations like hurricanes. During Hurricane Irene, more than 66 pets of Nassau County residents boarded for two nights while the storm was a threat to the island.

Bideawee Memorial Park and pet cemetery are still actively operating at the Wantagh location, in addition to bereavement counseling.

Bideawee continues to seek caring and compassionate individuals, who are able to volunteer once a week at the Wantagh location. Interested volunteers should contact Kim Keith at (516) 785-7822, extension 7331 or via email at Wantaghlearning@bide awee.org for more information. Volunteer requirements include: be at least 18 years old, pass a background check, participate in the Bideawee orientation session, be able to walk, bend, stand, reach, stoop, carry, push and pull, and commit to a dedicated volunteer shift.

Bideawee also relies solely on donation to maintain its services. It is a 501(c)(3) organization, providing ways for animal lovers to contribute and give matching employer gifts and estate donations. Visit www.bideawee.org for more information.