Dogs spend some time in the uncovered runs at the Southold Animal Shelter on a snowy Tuesday.
Dogs spend some time in the uncovered runs at the Southold Animal Shelter on a snowy Tuesday.

For years, workers at the Southold Town Animal Shelter have propped up makeshift shelters made from tarps and canvas to shield the shelter’s dog runs from the sun and weather. Their dream was to have a covered space where the dogs could play, safe from the heat and the rain.

This Christmas, they’re getting their wish, after the Southold Town Board voted Tuesday afternoon to spend $313,611 to build covers for the runs that will have solar panels on top to generate electricity for the shelter.

Southold Public Works Director Jeff Standish told the town board Tuesday that the solar panels would save the shelter about $20,000 annually in electric costs.

$180,000 of the cost is being funded by the  Southold Raynor Animal Shelter Foundation, created by a bequest from Elliot Raynor, a Southold animal lover who died in 2002. Fund chairman Ken Morrelly died in 2009, and his wife Catherine asked the town to spend the money on the covers for the runs almost exactly two years ago.

SUNNation Solar Systems, Inc. will be installing the shelters and solar panels. The town received a lower bid of little more than $266,000 from Eldor Contracting Corporation of Hicksville, but Eldor Contracting’s bid did not include a concept plan, which was listed as a requirement in the first page of the bid specifications.

Town engineer Michael Collins said Eldor Contracting is a general contracting corporation, and he was unsure whether they had experience in solar projects.

“We need a schematic of the what and the where and the sizing of the equipment,” he said. “SUNNation has done municipal projects in Suffolk County, and they were the only ones to show up for the pre-bid meeting.”

Town Supervisor Scott Russell said he didn’t think the town had a choice to accept the lower bid, since it didn’t meet the town’s requirements.

Mr. Standish said the project should pay for itself in six years.


Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

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