Here’s why the SPCA shelter can’t survive

Needless to say, it has been a tumultuous few days since the announcement of the cessation of our sheltering services at the Cumberland County SPCA the end of the year. Years of struggle have come before this decision was reached. As is normal for any nonprofit organization, we’ve always fought to make ends meet, but we’ve always managed to stay true to our mission. As is the case with so many things, the rules and regulations that govern our industry have become so overwhelming that the concentration on administrative requirements saps our resources. Taking funds away from animal care to pay for pushing paperwork undermines our very mission.Many people, because of our name, think that we are county-funded when, in fact, the county contributes only $20,000; that accounts for 1.5 percent of our annual expenses, which is basically a travel allowance for our cruelty investigations van. Other than that, the only money we receive from any government entities are the per-animal fees that the municipalities pay for their stray animals. These fees cover the cost of the strays for their seven-day holding period only. Then the burden of costs is completely on us. We often have cats and dogs for weeks and months, and they usually require veterinary care that we must provide as well.

In the late 1800s, the Cumberland County Society for the Protection of Children and Animals was formed as a nonprofit. In the late 1940s, we were chartered by the state as a volunteer nonprofit organization with the power to enforce animal cruelty laws. This has always been an odd situation, and has become increasingly challenging over time.

When I first started at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelter 30 years ago, every cruelty case involved a dog without shelter, a dog without water or a dog that was too skinny.

Now, animals are fought for entertainment, hanged in the city park and drowned in the river; the areas that our investigators are sent to are often gang-infested and dangerous.The shelter, on the other hand, has gone from a little old house with tacked-on additions to a nicely equipped building that can accommodate hundreds of animals. Our euthanasia rate has dropped 59 percent in the past three years alone, and we are well within reach in a few short years of euthanizing only in cases of severe aggression or dire illness.But now, the court has decided that we are an instrumentality of the government that requires us to perform as a public agency. Our county freeholders recognize us as a nonprofit that they cannot subsidize. The New Jersey State Investigations Commission also proclaimed us a volunteer-run nonprofit in their assessment of state and county SPCAs. So what the heck are we?

We are a necessary provider of care for thousands of homeless animals every year. We are an organization that works diligently to prevent all forms of animal cruelty and prosecute those who would deny innocent animals a safe and cared-for existence. We are a group of dedicated, compassionate people desperately trying to turn the tide of unnecessary euthanasia of unwanted pets.Unfortunately, we have come to the point where our very mission has been threatened by the burden of regulatory and adjudicated decisions. The new responsibilities and liabilities are beyond our means. Without the resources to continue high standards of animal care and placement, we simply cannot continue our sheltering operations.

Source: Here’s why the SPCA shelter can’t survive

So what can YOU do to help?

Let your voice be heard, let the powers that be know that this is a matter of the utmost importance and that you expect their help. Below is a sample letter that you can edit or add your own thoughts to & then email to your local representatives. Many of their email addresses are in the table to the right for your use.

I am a concerned citizen and am very troubled by the potential loss of our shelter which cares for thousands of stray and homeless pets on an annual basis. The citizens of our local communities also desperately need the important services such as low cost spay/neuter and vaccine clinics that the CCSPCA/SJRAS offers. For more than 70 years they alone have shouldered the burden of providing refuge for animals in need, assisting pet owners with necessary services and acting as a resource for any animal related issues.  

The welfare of the animals is a community responsibility of vital importance as well as a quality of life issue and a matter of public safety.   As an elected representative of our area, I ask that you do everything in your power to ensure the continuation of these crucial services by supporting the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter with whatever resources are necessary to continue these essential services.

If you would prefer to print and mail a letter to officials, the same sample letter is available for download below, and mailing addresses are in the far right column of the table.

Letter to Local Government Reps

Cumberland County Free Holders
Joe Derella joede@co.cumberland.nj.us 164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Darlene Barber darleneba@co.cumberland.nj.us 164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Carman Daddario carmanda@co.cumberland.nj.us 164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Carol Musso carolmu@co.cumberland .nj us 164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Joseph Sparacio josephsp@co.cumberland.nj.us 164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Jim Sauro jimsau@co.cumberland.nj.us 164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Jim Quinn jimqu@co.cumberland.nj.us 164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Other Cumberland & Salem County City & Township Officials
Michael Santiago michael.santiago@millvillenj.gov City of Millville
P.O. Box 609
Millville, NJ 08332
Jeanne Hitchner jeanne.hitchner@millvillenj.gov City of Millville
P.O. Box 609
Millville, NJ 08332
Albert Kelly mayor@cityofbridgeton.com City of Bridgeton
330 Fayette St.
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Pam Humphries phumphries@commercialtwp.com Township of Commercial
1768 Main Street
Port Norris, NJ 08349
Hannah Nicols hnichols@commercialtwp.com Township of Commercial
1768 Main Street
Port Norris, NJ 08349
Robert Campbell rgc4downe@comcast.net
Steve Wymbs Steve.Wymbs@fairfieldtownshipnj.org Fairfield Twp Municipal Building
PO Box 240
70 Fairton Gouldtown Road
Fairton, NJ 08320
Benjamin Byrd Benjamin.Byrd@fairfieldtownshipnj.org Fairfield Twp Municipal Building
PO Box 240
70 Fairton Gouldtown Road
Fairton, NJ 08320
William Reinhart CommitteemanReinhart@gmail.com
Lois Yarrington registrar@hopewelltwp-nj.com Hopewell Township
Municipal Building
590 Shiloh Pike
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Bruce Hankins mayor@hopewelltwp-nj.com Hopewell Township
Municipal Building
590 Shiloh Pike
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Brad Campbell mayor@shilohborough.com Borough of Shiloh
Box 349
Shiloh, NJ 08353
Ronald Campbell clerk@shilohborough.com Borough of Shiloh
Box 349
Shiloh, NJ 08353
Bruce Porter assistantclerk@stowcreektwp.com Stow Creek Township
474 Macanippuck Rd
Bridgeton NJ 08302
James Crilley Jcrilley@upperdeerfield.com Upper Deerfield Twp.
1325 Highway 77
Seabrook, NJ 08302
Stephanie Shane allowaydclerk@comcast.net Alloway Township
49 S. Greenwich St.
P.O. Box 425
Alloway, NJ 08001-0425
June Proffitt junep@carneyspointtwp.org Twp. of Carney's Point
303 Harding Hwy.
Carney's Point, NJ 08069
Kevin Eachus KEachus@PilesgroveNJ.org Twp. of Pilesgrove
1180 Route 40
Pilesgrove, NJ 08098
Maureen Adbill MAbdill@PilesgroveNJ.org Twp. of Pilesgrove
1180 Route 40
Pilesgrove, NJ 08098
Constance Garton ADMINISTRATOR@PITTSGROVE.COM Township of Pittsgrove
989 Centerton Rd.
Pittsgrove, NJ 08318
Tierra Jennings cityclerk@cityofsalemnj.gov City of Salem
17 New Market Street
Salem, NJ 08079
Stacey Pennington stacy.pennington@salemcountynj.gov
State Senators
Senator Van Drew SenVanDrew@njleg.org
Senator Sweeney sensweeney@njleg.org

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