Pet Rescue Center Coming To Source Mall


Shoppers to the Source Mall might soon hear woofs and meows as pet rescue organization Pets4Luv prepares to move into a 3,000 square-foot space on the second floor of the building.

The dog and cat rescue adoption center is no stranger to malls, having previously been at the Sunrise Mall in Massapequa for 13 months where it helped more than 250 animals find forever homes. Pets4Luv board president Dave Bernacchi said being at a mall gives the organization the benefit of increased visibility.

“We want to have rescues out in front of more people to educate them so they realize you can adopt almost any type of pet you want,”

Bernacchi said. “You don’t have to go to a pet store and purchase, you can adopt.”

The new Pets4Luv location in the Source Mall can hold XX cats and XX dogs.
The new Pets4Luv location in the Source Mall can hold 85 cats and 15 dogs.

At full capacity, their new location at the Source Mall will allow Pets4Luv to house 85 cats and 15 dogs. Most of the rescue’s dogs come from kill shelters, while others come from families who couldn’t take care of them anymore. Cats come from all over. Bernacchi said Pets4Luv puts a special emphasis on “difficult adoptions,” which includes dogs and cats who may be injured, ill or handicapped.

“It seems that more and more of the injured and sick get overlooked,” said Bernacchi, who’s been working with rescues in various capacities for the past 20 years. “A lot of people are taking the young healthy ones and these other ones get ignored.”

Pets4Luv not only tries to get these pets adopted, but rehabilitated. The nonprofit helps provide medical assistance for financially strapped or elderly individuals who adopt an animal but can’t pay for the pet’s medical bills.

Dee Benoit, a Pets4Luv board member, said the rescue is also passionate about giving back to the community. The organization often gets many food donations, so they are hoping to start a food pantry with cat and dog food to help financially strapped pet-owners. They’re also partnering with several organizations to have people with disabilities volunteer at the rescue.

“We want them to come in with mentors to volunteer. Even if that means sitting in an enclosure with dogs and cats and reading to them, that is beneficial to the pets and people,” said Benoit. “We want to be as community based as possible and give back as much as we can.”

Pets4Luv helps dogs like Snow find forever homes.
Pets4Luv helps dogs like Snow find forever homes.

However, the costs of running a rescue can quickly add up and medical bills alone can run $40,000 to $50,000 a year. Bernacchi said one of the biggest stumbling blocks for the organization over the years has been lack of funding, as the nonprofit runs solely on donations and the help of volunteers. Bernacchi said he himself has put in $64,000 of his own savings for the organization over the last several years, and other board members have poured in significant amounts of their own money as well.

“All the money goes directly to the animals. People who are involved here have a strong passion for helping animals,” said Bernacchi. “You can’t buy me anything that would make me happier than when a pet is healthy again and in a new home. All the board members feel the same way. It’s not about a quick adoption, it’s about saving animals.”

As they prepare for their opening in two weeks, Bernacchi said the one thing they need most is volunteers. For seven day coverage, the organization needs 40 to 50 volunteers to fill in a variety of duties, including walking the dogs, taking care of the cats, general cleaning and care, animal transport, office work, grant writing, social media and more. The ideal volunteer is someone who loves animals and has time to spare.

“We need adults who are there during the day,” said Benoit. “That’s what we’re looking for desperately right now, anybody who has time that they want to give and if they love animals, we want to welcome them.”

In the future, Bernacchi said they hope to hold adoption events as well as classes where local groups and organizations can learn more about rescue, adoptions and how to care for pets. But most of all, Pets4Luv is about saving animals and helping them find a home.

“This is probably the one business where we’d be happy to go out of business and there’s no need for us,” said Bernacchi. “But unfortunately I don’t think that’s going to happen in my lifetime.”

To find out more about Pets4Luv, visit


  1. Volunteers are needed at all levels. It doesn’t mean that you have to dedicate a specific time every week. Can you write a funding grant or a publicity article? Are you willing to approach corporations for donations? Are you in a business that can supply a service that Pets4Luv can use? How about sponsoring a charity raffle where the proceeds will be put to good use helping the animals? It is a proven fact that living with a cat or a dog can improve your health. How about giving back to them just a portion of what they give to us.

  2. This is to Ann M. Hier
    Hi Ann, although I understand your concern you should really get all your facts before throwing everyone on the same pile. If your concern is about the animals I invite you to call and or come down to the rescue to find out about Pets4Luv Foundation. There are no same day adoptions here. There is an application that has to be filled out and processed. Minimum of 1 home visit (this is for cats as well as dogs) possibly more if other pets are involved for proper meet & greets. We have no paid staff not even board members get a salary. As far as a money maker, I founded this organization & as the article states I spend an average of $20,000.00 and the other Board members spend close to $8,000.00 a year of our own money to help these pets. We are spending $2,000.00 this week on medical to help a 70 year old man whose dog is ill and he does not have the money to save her. So if you are a true animal lover and care, again, I invite you to call and come down to see our rescue, what we do and then you can make a decision about us.


  3. This is called retail rescue. Under the guise of being “non-profit,” the shelter industry has aggressively villified and run out legitimate pet stores which are “bad,” to replace them with their pet stores which are “good.” All that has been needed is to claim that all breeders are “puppy mills.” Yet, all legitimate pet stores are required by USDA to document the source of their animals and they must be shipped by USDA licensed carriers. Additionally, as legitimate businesses they are subject to consumer protection laws. However, the shelter industry has lobbied to carve out exceptions for animals that are “adopted” so that they can SELL (what they call an ‘adoption fee”) random source dogs of unknown original, temperament, and health background that are shipped in across state lines and from foreign countries on unlicensed, unregulated carriers and not be legally obligated to refund or replace defective animals. Furthermore, the legitimate businesses actually hire employees and pay them wages. Most of the shelter industry w orkers are unpaid volunteers which pumps up the bottom line so that they can have an unfair advantage over for profit businesses in the market place. But, surprisingly, one has only to check the IRS 990 of many of these so-called animal welfare groups to see that their top executives make substantial salaries with numerous perks on the backs of all these volunteers. So, if you now donate to this retail rescue store you will not necessarily be helping animals but paying rent and overhead on the space in the mall. I certainly never have advocated purchasing an animal on a spur of the moment decision while mall shopping. But I am sure that the retail rescue will use exactly the same sales tactic used by pet shops for years – take the cute little dog out and put it in the potential buyer’s arms (especially if it is a child) and then make the folks feel guilty for not taking it home that instant. What a remarkable thing that this is a horrible practice for a pet shop but lauded as wonderful when a retail rescue does the same thing. If you want a quality pet, take your time, research exactly what you want and find a reputable breeder (there are plenty of them, although the shelter industry will tell you all breeders are “puppy mills”), ask for health guarantees, see how the animals are kept and raised, see the parents, get references, and get a quality purebred pet that will be exactly what you want and give you years of wonderful companionship.

    • Hi Anne I just saw this email and wanted to reply. I have rescued dogs and cats for over 8 years now. I too am acutely aware of puppy mills and
      Illegal shop owners and “rescue people” who sell dogs/cats illegally. I adopted my dog was from a puppy mill 7 years ago.
      Fortunately many stores have been closed. But one “very public place” who receives huge sums of money has not. Rather than posting the name here I would like very much to speak to you about this.
      You seem very knowledgeable about this aggregious activity and I am at a loss as to how they have not been arrested and shut down.
      My email is
      I hope to hear from you so perhaps we can put our energies together for the sake of the many homeless and abused animals and their abusers.
      Thank you.
      Liz diamond

  4. as someone who ran four facilties that usd volunteers .. they were great but since they are not being paid they do not have the commitment to their “jobs” as paid people do. Birthday party/ son’s basketbnall game/got the sniffles.. and you are out of a working business ( and this is a business.. make no mistake about that) Volunteers are super people but no business should depend entirely upon them.

Leave a Reply