As Last Hope Animal Rescue reached its 30 year mark in 2011, the organization celebrated with the opening of an adoption center in Wantagh.
Last Hope of Wantagh Director Milda Darzinskies said the center has found huge success with cat and dog adoption in the last 18 months and can only hope for the numbers to grow in 2013.
"Our work is so important and my only hope is that the numbers increase in the new year, that the public can become more aware of the beautiful animals we have up for adoption," said Darzinskies, who is entering her 22nd year volunteering with Last Hope.
Follow Wantagh-Seaford Patch on Facebook.
Darzinskies' journey with Last Hope began when she encountered an injured kitten from a feral colony on the north shore of Long Island in 1991. She called Last Hope for assistance, which quickly led to a spaying and neutering campaign in Oyster Bay.
"It was purely accidental," Darzinskies explained. "I called for help with an injured kitten and they saw the need for spaying and neutering. They provided assistance for me to do the work and I've been with them ever since. They're really a phenomenal group with some of the best volunteers."
According to Darzinskies, spaying and neutering is still a primary concern for the organization today.
"We stress the importance of spaying and neutering," she said. "All of our animals are before adoption, even our kittens. By doing this, we're stopping thousands and thousands of animals from being born."
"During kitten season, from the feral cat problem, we average 20-30 phone calls each day for assistance with strays," she added. "The need is so great for people to get help with strays in their yards and neighborhoods. Thankfully now, local governments are on board, but it's still not enough. We need to educate the public on how important this is."
To reach all their goals in the new year, Darzinskies said that volunteers are key, especially after Superstorm Sandy last fall.
"Our agency is open from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. every day of the week and it's all volunteers," she said. "Everyone is just so dedicated, but one thing from Sandy was that we lost a lot of volunteers. Many lived on the south shore, and right now, they need to focus on home repairs and just aren't available to give their time."
The organization will be hosting a jewelry sale Saturday, Jan. 26 at their Wantagh center in efforts to raise money for this year's campaigns. For more information on Last Hope Animal Rescue, visit online or at the Wantagh facility located at 3300 Beltagh Ave.