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2021 Person of the Year: Gabby Stroup

Last year, the Southold-owned animal shelter in Peconic was busy. Records show that the shelter, which is managed by the North Fork Animal Welfare League, took in 463 dogs and puppies, 302 of which came from so-called “high kill” shelters in places like Georgia.

Of that total, 375 found local homes to take them in.

For Gabby Stroup’s efforts at the Peconic shelter to save hundreds of dogs and find hundreds of homes for them, she is The Suffolk Times’ Person of the Year for 2021.

“She is outrageously deserving,” said Jen Lew, a supporter of the shelter. “It is astonishing the amount of dogs she has rescued and found good homes for out here.”

Records show the Peconic shelter took in 463 dogs and puppies in 2021, 302 of which came from so-called “high-kill” shelters in places like Georgia. Of the total, 375 found local homes to take them in. The rest were either returned to their owners or are awaiting adoption.

“What’s really great is Gabby finds homes for dogs even before they get here,” said Bernie Hobin. “She is always working to get these dogs new homes. I get emotional talking about it.”

Here is a sample of some of the many emails sent The Suffolk Times in support of Ms. Stroup: 

“I have never met anyone with such devotion to an animal’s welfare”; “I am so impressed by everything she does, and the amount of animal lives she saves”; “She has done an amazing job almost 24 hours a day helping find animals new homes”; 

“She is a tireless advocate for animals and moves mountains to make miracles happen for so many ‘unwanted’ pets”; “She has a God-given gift for finding the right dog for the right person and family and making that perfect match”; “She has gone above and beyond. We call her the puppy pusher”;

“Her constant care for the shelter animals as well as her rescue efforts have gone far beyond a job. Whether it’s a day on or off if there’s an animal in need she is willing to jump in and start the process of healing mentally and physically any type of creature she comes across … She inspires us to be better by the way she cares every day of her life.”

Kikka Harrison of Cutchogue has known Ms. Stroup since 2018. “She was recommended to me to babysit my cat when I was traveling,” she said. “She came over and took wonderful care of my cat. She is such a generous person with the animals. She just loves them.

“She saves them,” she added. “She posts about them. She sends pictures about them. She is a great advocate for animal rights and getting puppies that would be euthanized adopted to great lives here on the North Fork.”

CORRECTION: Information in an earlier version of this story incorrectly reported where a dog adopted by a Greenport man came from. That part of the story has been removed.

Previous Winners

2020: Shari Hymes and Dr. Lawrence Walser
2019: Father Joe Staudt
2018: Mary Latham
2017: Eleanor Lingo
2016: Charles Reichert
2015: Kait’s Angels
2014: Jeff Heidtmann
2013: David Gamberg and Michael Comanda
2012: Southold Emergency Response Team
2011: Paul and Barbara Stoutenburgh
2010: Scott Russell
2009: Ryan Creighton
2008: North Fork NJROTC
2007: Maureen’s haven
2006: Southold Town Animal Shelter
2005: Ronnie Wacker
2004: Josh Horton
2003: Regina Maris Crew
2002: Colin Van Tuyl
2001: Frank LePré
2000: Ellie Hall
1999: Sister Margaret Smyth
1998: Reverend Lynda Clements
1997: Tim Caufield
1996: Dr. Micah Kaplan
1995: David Kappell
1994: Bob Levy
1993: Walter Dohm
1992: Reverend Summers
1991: Planning Conference
1990: 350th Committee
1989: Lynne Richards
1988: Franklin Bear
1987: Linda Graham