By Christina Santucci
The founder of an Ozone Park animal shelter believes she is close to finding a new home for the organization after its lease was not renewed.
“Our lease was up five months ago, and our landlord doesn’t want to renew our lease,” Heavenly Angels’ founder Lori Carpino said Saturday. “I guess he can get more money from someone else than he can from us.”
Carpino said the organization has until the end of the month to find a new home, but would stay at the storefront, at 97-14 Liberty Ave., until another spot is found.
“It doesn’t take a day to move two floors of a shelter,” Carpino said.
She said that she had a “really good lead” but declined to discuss the details until everything was set up.
“We would like to stay in this area,” Carpino added, pointing out that a large number of stray and abused animals are found in southern Queens.
Heavenly Angels was paying about $3,500 per month in rent for its 2,000-square-foot space, and with gas, electric, water and sanitation bills, the organization’s overhead came to about $7,000 per month.
Hundreds of volunteers walk, feed and interact with the animals, and the organization has developed a network of supporters, including elected officials, who do what they can to help.
“But at the end of the day, it’s the shelter that has to pay the rent,” Carpino said.
Carpino initially founded Heavenly Angels in Astoria about three years ago and the shelter moved to Ozone Park about six months later.
“I started out as a volunteer at another animal shelter and I was the manager there for six years,” she said of her previous work with the Animal Center of Queens in Rego Park.
Now her no-kill organization houses more than 100 animals – about 50 cats and 60 to 65 dogs – including a pitbull named Winter and her new litter of five puppies.
“Winter was left by her owners in a foreclosed home sometime in December,” Carpino said, explaining that neighbors called the police about the abandoned pup. “Finally, one morning a neighbor called me and said, ‘The dog has been out there for three weeks now.’”
When Carpino went over to the Jamaica home, the dog didn’t want to leave, so Carpino picked her up.
After a few weeks at the shelter, Winter began getting bigger but not gaining weight. That’s when shelter staff found out she was pregnant.
Winter gave birth to five puppies, whose coloring vary from brown to black and white to gray, at Heavenly Angel. Both mom and babies are up for adoption – although one puppy has already been claimed – and the 7-wee-old dogs will ready to be brought home in a couple of weeks.
For more information about Heavenly Angels and its animals, email [email protected], or visit 97-14 Liberty Ave. in Ozone Park.
Reach managing editor Christina Santucci by e-mail at [email protected] by phone at 718-260-4589.