Goshen Humane Society is slated to close Tuesday, Aug. 15. As of right now, all animals at the shelter have somewhere to go. Many have already been adopted, and others will head to either Warwick Humane Society or an animal sanctuary.
Rick and Susan Bossley, who have operated the shelter since 2005 as unpaid volunteers, will retire to Tennessee next month.Over the course of 18 years running Goshen Humane Society, the Bossleys juggled their volunteer work while running a successful insurance business. Rick is also Goshen’s dog control officer, a role which he is compensated. He’ll be stepping down from that position as well Aug. 15.
Rick said some individuals expressed interest running the shelter - but changed their minds upon learning it is an unpaid job.
A long time coming
Two substantial endowments left to Goshen Humane Society are the only reason why the shelter was able to stay open in recent years, Rick said. One came in about seven years ago in the amount of $106,000. The other, which left an entire estate to the shelter totaling $320,000, was received approximately five years ago.
“So that’s kind of what’s been keeping us floating,” said Rick. “To be honest with you, if we hadn’t gotten those ... the shelter probably would’ve closed six, seven years ago.”
It costs approximately $220,000 annually to run Goshen Humane Society, Rick said. While the Bossleys did not take home a salary, the shelter does have other employees who are paid. Payroll and veterinary bills make up a majority of the expenses.
“Two months ago the shelter paid almost $6,000 in vet bills,” said Rick. “It’s always a high number.”
The town and village of Goshen, Rick said, give the shelter with less than $40,000 annually.
18 years of service
When asked if he had a fondest memory over the course of his time with Goshen Humane Society, Rick immediately knew his answer.
“Yeah, I’m gonna cry tellin’ ya,” said Rick. “There was a pit bull there named Lily...she was probably there for five years ... I think she was a bait dog, she didn’t have a bad bone in her body. But she’s just a pit bull, you know, people have that stigma about pit bulls.”
“Susan came home one day and said ‘I think someone wants to adopt Lily,’ and I almost fell down.”
Between 2011 and 2015, Susan wrote at least six letters to The Chronicle looking for the right family to adopt Lily. “When she came to us, she was emaciated, no body fat and well over 100 open wounds,” Susan wrote in 2013. “I remember my husband telling a volunteer, ‘Don’t let my wife see her.’”
Lily is 12 now, still living with her adopted family.
“That’s why we do it ... stories like that,” said Rick. Susan, meanwhile, is already in touch with animal sanctuary she plans to volunteer with in Tennessee. “I’ll just help in any way that I can, but I’ll never be involved in the way that I am (now at the shelter),” said Susan. “It’s too much.”
Working with WarwickRick said that in recent years, Goshen Humane Society cared for approximately 70 cats and 30 dogs annually.
While all of the animals currently at the shelter have homes, the Bossleys are working to ensure no animals are left behind if others are surrendered prior to the shelter’s Aug. 15 closing date. Rick is hopeful that neighboring humane societies, such as Warwick, will be able to take Goshen animals.
Goshen Town Supervisor Joe Betro said officials have been working on a solution, according to News 12.
“Currently, we have interviewed three applicants and we are meeting with the Warwick Humane Society to discuss an agreement for them to accept our animals,” he said. “I also will be meeting with Susan Bossley to discuss the possibility of structuring a new board and what it would take to keep the Goshen Humane Society open.”
Those who would like to support Goshen Humane Society between now and Aug. 15, and are interested in adopting an animal, are encouraged to make an appointment to see the shelter’s cats. If the cats currently at the shelter are not adopted, they will end up being sent to Warwick Humane Society in August.