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Hi-Tor Animal Shelter Names New Executive Director To Steer Nonprofit

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Rick Tannenbaum Steps In To Guide Hi-Tor Into The Future

By Tina Traster

Hi-Tor Animal Shelter in Pomona has named a new executive director, Rick Tannenbaum.

Tannenbaum stepped into the role on January 1, after leading a long and complicated negotiation with Rockland Green (former Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority), which has taken over animal management in the county.

The executive director practiced law for nearly 15 years. Following that, he managed a multi-million property portfolio for private investors. Tannenbaum is also a licensed commercial real estate broker. He also has a business degree, has managed companies and supervised staff over the past 40 years.

In full disclosure, Tannenbaum is my spouse, and he is also an occasional columnist for Rockland County Business Journal on real estate and public policy issues.

Rick Tannenbaum

“I am so excited for the opportunity to steer Hi-Tor into a much brighter future,” said Tannenbaum. “In just the past month, we have made progress at the shelter, including streamlining adoptions, hiring and training new personnel, cleaning up the facility, and have begun instituting best management practices according to Best Friends and the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.

Tannenbaum is a lifelong champion for human rights, the environment, and animals. He won a Rockland County historic preservation award and a human rights award from the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association.

Through its 50-year reign, Hi-Tor, which is a private, nonprofit organization, has had executive directors on and off.

“A nonprofit needs a strong hand to insure that it runs well, that its staff and volunteers are treated well, and that it runs efficiently,” Tannenbaum added.

“We are thrilled to have such a talented and accomplished professional to pursue our mission,” said Hi-Tor board members.

Late last year, Hi-Tor was told that Rockland Green was being given the lease to the building the shelter has occupied for half a century. The county required Rockland Green to find an operator before it would hand over the keys.

By year end, Rockland Green and Hi-Tor entered into a two-year agreement. The lease runs through Dec. 31, 2024 and gives Rockland Green the option to extend the term into 2025 with Hi-Tor’s consent.

The Public Authority will levy taxpayers $1.7 million in 2023. Of the $1.7 Rockland Green plans to raise $1.4 million will be allocated for Hi-Tor, while $225,000 will be set aside to lease 427 Beach Road in Haverstraw, a vacant warehouse building Rockland Green plans to use for the future shelter site.

Rockland’s taxpayers with the exception of Orangetown will spend roughly $20 per household in 2023. Orangetown will continue to contract for dogs with the Hudson Valley Humane Society; its taxpayers will be on the hook for roughly $2 per household in 2023 but that will rise considerably in 2024. Orangetown taxpayers, along with the other towns, will foot the bill for the $225,000 annual lease for 427 Beach Road and for the costs to buy and retrofit the proposed shelter.

Howard Phillips, Chairman of Rockland Green (the former Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority) has revealed that the purchase and retrofitting of a warehouse building the Authority is buying for a future county-wide animal shelter is going to cost up to $15 million or more. That estimate includes a pending $4 million purchase of the building.