Holy moly! If you read the column last week, you know that I was pacing the floors waiting for my foster dog to deliver her pups. It turned out to be a VERY LONG wait. Throughout the day she was restless, up and down, in and out of the closet that she chose for her “birthing suite.” We knew by 6:30 in the morning that she was ready and we were vigilant all day, but by 11 o’clock that night, I was exhausted and nothing was happening.I finally decided to try to get some rest. She had other ideas.At midnight, I heard a decisive yelp from the closet and, sure enough, the first pup was working his way out. I had never heard a mother dog cry out during delivery, but I have read that they experience contractions much like human mothers and therefore must have similar pain. She cried out two more times with the second and third pups, but after that she seemed to settle in and take the deliveries with stride. I think she is a first (and last!) time mother, so her agitation and lack of experience probably added to her discomfort.
A little after 3 a.m., she finally delivered the last of her eight – yes, EIGHT – puppies. That’s a very large litter for such a little dog. As I stated last week, I was sure that she was either carrying a few big pups or a lot of little ones, but I didn’t expect EIGHT! Typically, small dogs have small litters; five would be considered large for them. The last puppy took the longest between births, and by that time she seemed to be exhausted and lay down, almost nodding off, until a few seconds before the last little girl popped out.After she had finished removing the sack from the pup and getting her settled, I wanted to get mama cleaned up and get her outside. I felt terrible, because it was the night that it snowed and I hated like heck having to send her out in it, even for a minute, with what she had been through. I needn’t have worried. After letting her out, I peeked through the window to make sure she was getting off the deck and doing her business. Imagine my surprise when I spotted her doing the “snow plow,” running her chin and belly through the new snow and rolling in it excitedly on her back. She came back in and was zipping around, acting crazy, like dogs do when they have just had a bath. She drank some water, ate a huge predawn breakfast and finally retired with her new babies for a few hours.In spite of her being new to motherhood, she has been fantastic with the puppies. She probably will weigh in at 13 or 14 pounds after her milk is dried up, but right now she’s eating more in the course of a day than my 85-pound sheep dog does. She gets a cup of kibble and a half-cup of canned food three times a day, snacks on dry food in between, and gets a handful of treats at bedtime. Eating for nine is obviously a big job!
The puppies will be ready for adoption around Valentine’s Day, and I will keep you updated on their progress as they mature. Right now, they look like little bubble-headed mice, with eyes not yet open and just able to slither around a little on their bellies. Check out thedailyjournal.com for a video! Those of us at the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter hope that you are enjoying your family and friends over this holiday season and please keep in mind that we have many pets here that are waiting still for a safe, warm and loving home like yours.
This Christmas will be will be very exciting at my house. Although I don’t have little kids anxiously awaiting Santa and all the wonderful gifts he brings, this year I will have the pitter patter of teeny, tiny little feet. Probably lots of teeny, tiny little feet.As I sit and write this column, I have a small dog at home who is just starting her delivery rituals. She’s a young Wire Hair Terrier mix who came in as a stray just last week. I took her home to foster her rather than leave her in the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter because it was very apparent that the “buns” were coming out of the oven very soon.
After spending a little time with her, I fully expected a frantic owner to be calling in a lost report for her. Silly me. It will never cease to amaze me, and I will never understand how we receive so many wonderful pets as strays that no one ever comes to claim. In spite of the fact that she was found running loose and obviously “in the family way,” it was clear that she has been a house dog and is used to having a strong bond with her people. She is loving, attentive, housebroken and arrived in very good physical condition given her situation. Her legal seven-day stray hold has just expired, and there has been no sign of an owner.
Along with the expiration of her stray hold has come the end of her pregnancy. She has made herself completely at home in my house and, in spite of supplying her with a couple of very accommodating delivery locations, I believe she has opted to make her own decision. She scoffed at the whelping box that we lined with the finest of big, comfy blankets. She left her crate that she willingly sleeps in, eschewing the lovely, high-sided dog bed and quilt provided therein. She has her own idea of where her children will brought into the world, and that looks to be my walk-in closet.All this week her belly has grown to what must be very uncomfortable proportions and her milk has come in generously, adding further to her bulk. Yesterday, I noticed that she had “dropped” and this morning she refused her breakfast. For a few hours, she was a bit restless with occasional whining. She is typically like Velcro, following me everywhere, but a little later in the morning she removed herself and settled in the bedroom. After deciding on the closet as her delivery suite, she is, as I write this, up and down, either curling up restlessly or scratching at her newly provided blankets.
Given the size of her belly, she either has a bunch of little pups or she was caught by a big daddy and has a few large pups. Our vet is on standby in case she needs assistance. If everything goes well, we will have puppies just opening their eyes in time for Christmas Day.Fortunately, after a lot of effort on the part of many people, the shelter will still be here in February 2018 when those little pups will be ready to adopt and start their new lives as someone’s beloved pets. Merry Christmas and stay tuned – I’ll update you on the delivery in next week’s column.
VINELAND – The Cumberland County Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ shelter is not closing at the end of the year, as announced back in October.The SPCA is working with government officials in Cumberland and Salem counties on a financial reprieve that would keep the shelter open.
“It’s been nerve-wracking but hopefully we’re going to get this new budget rolling and it will be enough that we can get through 2018 and possibility find new ways to become more self-sustaining,” said Bev Greco, the agency’s executive director.
The SPCA, along with government officials, are tackling the financial hurdles that prompted the agency to issue notifications that municipal contracts for animal and sheltering services, expiring Dec. 31, would not be renewed.The counties and municipalities requested the SPCA remain open for, at least, three months to give them time to come up with a solution to keep the nonprofit open and moving forward, Cumberland County Freeholder Director Joseph Derella told The Daily Journal on Monday.Having Cumberland County take over and run the shelter is not an option.“If the county government took over the operations of the SPCA, the estimate would be about an 8-cent tax increase,” Derella said, noting if the local SPCA closed, the agency’s North Delsea Drive building and other assets would pass to the state SPCA.“You would have to come up with a whole new facility; all the employees would become county employees, which means they would fall under union contracts, everything changes,” Derella said. “It would be very, very difficult for us to take on.”Talks continue toward a solution.“You are talking 14 municipalities, 14 different mayors, 14 solicitors and, I believe, seven other municipalities in Salem that have an interest,” Derella said. “It’s a lot of individuals and a lot of different agendas that need to be pulled together.”“The county has taken a lead in being a catalyst in trying to help bring everybody together,” he said. “We, at the freeholder level, are very happy with the direction we seem to be going.”
Greco acknowledged the support of the county freeholders and administration as the shelter faced an uncertain future with increased costs due to recent court rulings and health code changes.“They’ve been helping us trying to develop a budget,” she said, “We are to the point now where our attorney, (Rocco Tedesco), and accountants (Romano, Hearing, Testa and Knorr) are trying to finish our new fee schedule and contracts, which will be offered for 2018 services.”
That should be wrapped up this week, she said.The local shelter, which adopts out between 1,500 to 1,800 animals per year, employs 34 and runs on an annual budget of $1.3 million. For comparison, the Cape May County Animal Shelter in Cape May Court House, serving the number of animals the CCSPCA receives just from Vineland, has a basic operating budget of about $750,000, which does not include additional costs such as building maintenance and legal fees.Public demands and shelter standards are increasing the level of animal care.“We’re trying to keep up with regulations as well as expectations,” Greco said. “That’s our mission — to save as many animals as possible.”“One of the things that has been detrimental to our budget is when municipalities bring in stray animals, they are only responsible for the care of the animal for the first seven days,” she said.After that the SPCA takes on the cost of care while the pets are in the shelter, regardless on their length of stay. “There is no time limit on animals,” she said. The current average length of stay is 28-34 days.“The difference between now and let’s say four or five years ago, we are now able to transfer thousands of animals out of our facility to rescues and other shelters with high adoption rates,” Greco said.To do that, animals must be “adoption ready.”
“If you get a litter, they could be here for eight weeks,” Greco said. “If you have a very adoptable cat or dog and it comes down with upper respiratory infection, that’s generally 14-21 days on antibiotics; of course, you’re going to hold that animal to give it the opportunity.”
The local shelter is pursuing a less than 10 percent euthanasia rate.
“That’s going to take a community effort,” she said.
The SPCA is working with Cumberland County on a trap, neuter, vaccine and release program to reduce the shelter cat population. Overbreeding of pit bulls also needs to be addressed, Greco said.
Those two steps would go a long way to help fulfilling Greco’s Christmas wish list that calls for “a completed contract and budget, staying in business and increasing the number of animals we are able to save.”
“I’m very thankful to our citizens for reaching out to our lawmakers,” she said, noting calls went out to state, county and municipal officials. “They’ve been very vocal for us and we really appreciate that.”
“Now it’s important that they continue to express their support to municipal leaders,” she said.
It’s the most magical time of the year, and we’re feeling the holiday spirit at the Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals! We’re hoping to share the holiday spirit with our supporters, and there’s quite a bit going on in the shelter to update you on. Due to the physical manifestation of holiday joy as actual snow this weekend, our Tree of Hope lighting was postponed until 6:30 p.m. this Wednesday, Dec. 13. Please join us at the shelter as we share delicious holiday treats and hot cocoa prepared by our volunteers, enjoy our holiday decorations, and meet adoptable pets looking for their own homes for the holidays. At 6:30, we will display our memorial slideshow of photos sent in by our supporters who donated a light. Then we will watch as the tree is lit, each light reminding us of the value of each animal who touches our lives. Please consider joining us for this special event.
We also will kick off our holiday promotion. Our “Isle of Misfit” adoptable dogs and cats are hoping to find a home for the holidays and are available for only $25 for cats and $50 for dogs. You can identify our holiday misfits by the signs on their kennels and cages. What makes an animal a misfit? Just as in the classic Rudolph movie, there is nothing wrong with them; they are just different and overlooked! We hope that highlighting these special animals will encourage our adopters to give them a home for holidays. This year, we also will offer Santa Express deliveries! Santa’s elves are eagerly awaiting their opportunities to deliver newly adopted pets to their families on Christmas morning. Please see our front office for more information.
Meanwhile, to add to the holiday chaos, our cruelty agents spent the day before the snow rescuing a litter of 2-week-old puppies from the elements in the woods. The puppies were brought to the shelter, where they immediately went into foster care with our staff to be bottle-fed. As the puppies were in great health, we knew there was a mama dog out there. Our foster coordinator and agent again went to the woods and spent hours searching for mama in the snow. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to find any signs of her, but we aren’t giving up and the puppies are doing very well in foster care in the meantime. We expect that the pit bull mix puppies, which we’ve named the “Mafia Litter,” will be ready to find forever homes in five to six weeks.Pup Caught On Video Trying to Escape Shelter. APWe have a serious shortage of puppy supplies at the shelter! We are urgently seeking donations of Esbilac Puppy Milk Replacer, A/D Diet critical care canned food (can be obtained at a veterinarian’s office), and pate canned puppy food. We also will need high-quality puppy kibble when they are reading to start eating on their own.
And believe it or not, kittens – including even bottle babies – continue to pour into the shelter! Our kitten supplies have dwindled after a long, relentless kitten season. We urgently need dye-free cat and kitten food (such as Purina kitten and cat chow), pate canned food, A/D Diet and especially Snuggle Safe microwavable heat pads. As the nights become chillier, it’s essential that we are able to keep our smallest residents toasty warm, and Snuggle Safes are the best way to do so. As the holiday spirit continues, we ask you to keep the shelter in mind. We hope to see you Wednesday for the Tree of Hope lighting. All donations for our puppies and kittens, as well as our adults, are so greatly appreciated. And we are truly hoping that those of you considering bringing a homeless pet home for the holidays will visit the shelter and meet our Misfits.Happy holidays!
For the past nine years, the Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has held a Dog of the Year competition, and it has been one of the most successful fundraisers in the history of our organization. The contest is run with 12 of our adoptees vying to raise the most money to support the animals we are currently caring for in the shelter. It’s a wonderful way for the adopters of these beloved pets to show off their candidates while helping to ensure the future of homeless pets.This year’s format was a bit different in that the dogs in the contest all belonged to our staff and board members. Whether in the hallways of the shelter or out in the cyber world, it made for some rough and tumble competition! When it was all said and done, the winner of the competition was none other than Rosco, a classy and dignified Schnauzer belonging to the president of our board of directors
Rosco originally came to us as a stray from Carneys Point back in April 2011. A middle-age adult at that time, he was purebred, perfectly groomed, perfectly behaved, housebroken and mannerly. None of us could ever understand why no one ever came to look for this perfect little guy. Even after 30 years in this industry, I am amazed at the animals that are never reclaimed by their original owners. We receive a very large percentage of stray pets that have obviously been well cared for, trained and loved, yet no one comes looking. Well, apparently it was meant to be because that person’s loss was his new mom’s gain; a more perfect match was never made.
Rosemary and Rosco became constant companions. He was stubborn, independent and had a mind of his own; yet, he was well-behaved, loving and always up for a new adventure. He loved car rides and, when it was time to buy a new vehicle, the back seat had to have just the right set-up for Rosco to ride comfortably and it had to afford him a great view. He loved long walks, going to the dog park, and sniffing every blade of grass and every tree trunk he came across. Being so well-traveled, he also became widely known and loved by many. It was a successful adoption in every way, shape and form.They were the perfect team to enter the Dog of the Year competition and they blew everyone out of the water, raising over $6,000. Sadly, though, in a heartbreaking turn of events, Rosco became ill during the summer and in spite of receiving the very best veterinary care, they were not able determine the source of his problem and he did not survive. It is a horrible thing to lose your four-legged soulmate. It is especially hard when they go before their time.A new study published Friday found dog owners generally had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death, compared to those who didn’t own a dog. Video provided by Newsy NewslookHis victory as Dog of the Year is bittersweet, but it is gratifying to know that he was loved and celebrated. For everyone involved in the contest, it was a very emotional end to wonderful year of competition and camaraderie.
Overall, the 2017 contest raised $18,000; the fight was so fierce that the third-, fourth- and fifth-place winners were with $16 of each other. We’re very proud of our two-legged competitors; they are comprised of a highly dedicated group of people who truly go the extra mile for the shelter.
The funds raised this year bring the total of the DOY contest over the years to more than $150,000. Imagine all the animals that have been saved by those efforts. Thanks to all of you who helped support the candidates with your donations – we appreciate your kindness.
Animal sheltering is, and always will be, a mixed bag of emotions. But heading into this Thanksgiving, I was struggling to find things to be grateful for. We have had several situations lately that have been heartbreaking, and they took a toll on me and other staff members at the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter. A few weeks ago, a white Staffordshire mix with cropped ears, an emaciated figure and sores all over arrived at the shelter. We named him Christian and started him on the road to what we hoped was recovery. Provided with a comfortable bed and blankets, warmth and love, Christian was comfortable for the first time in a long time. He didn’t want to eat, so staff went through an array of delicious foods to hand feed him. He didn’t want to get up, so we sat in his kennel with him, where he lay his head in our laps and was content. Sadly, the news from our veterinarian was not good: Christian struggled to walk and grew weaker, despite our best attempts to get him back on his feet. There wasn’t anything we could do to keep him comfortable. We had to put him to sleep to prevent him from suffering. But how I suffered with the regret that I wasn’t able to do more for him …
On the tail of that heartache came another awful loss. After their owner was admitted to a hospital on a long-term basis, orange tabby cat Rolie Polie Olie and collie mix Zowie found themselves admitted to the shelter. Both were seniors, and both were confused and sad. There are no accommodations at the shelter where we could have them together, so they were separated, and I made it my goal to get these two back together in a foster home or rescue who could help them. Olie did better and was moved to the Adoption Room, while sweet Zowie was so overwhelmed that she barely got off her bed and quickly became ill with kennel cough. With Zowie’s situation becoming urgent, I contacted senior rescues and, thankfully, found a rescue partner, Senior Dog Haven and Hospice in Delaware, that was able to help both Zowie and Olie. Zowie was rushed to the veterinarian as her health continued to decline; she was not eating and, in hopes of perking her up, Zowie and Olie were reunited at the vet’s office and immediately began cuddling together. It was the most heartwarming update I had received in a long time. I thought it was my reminder that, as sad as some situations had been, there is always an upswing.
But then I received a text that stopped my heart. Zowie was struggling to breathe – they were doing everything they could, but it wasn’t looking good. A short time later, Zowie had to be euthanized; she was suffering as she struggled and wasn’t responding to any of their interventions. Rolie Polie Olie was brought back to her to say goodbye. And Zowie was gone. Despite the regularity of heartache, anger and frustration, I don’t cry often. But I cried over the loss of Zowie, remembering cuddling her and promising her everything would be OK. Over a reunion that was too brief. Over the happy ending that I needed, that wasn’t going to happen. It felt like too much. All I wanted to do was retreat from the shelter and the animals. But the need doesn’t stop just because the staff is dealing with difficult feelings – work still needs to be done, and other animals still need help.Join now for as low as$9.99/YRSubscribe NowI had to mentally shift gears to be able to help the others. Instead of focusing on the loss, I thought about what would have happened to Zowie and Christian if it wasn’t for the shelter. Christian would have continued to suffer in the cold until his eventual death. But when he died, he wouldn’t have been surrounded by people who loved him and he probably wouldn’t have gone as peacefully as he did. There wasn’t anything that could have been done to prevent Zowie from passing; I am 100 percent confident that the rescue did everything it could for her and that the decision to let her go was in her best interest. I know they bonded to her as deeply as I did – she was just that type of dog. I have to choose to be grateful that they were able to reunite her with Olie. Maybe she had been slowly dying for some time, and maybe she needed to be able to see him to let go. And while Zowie is gone, Rolie Polie Olie will never be alone and homeless again. These people got up close and personal with a new friend: a hungry sea lion. AnimalkindWhen you choose to see light, it becomes easier to see. We had a litter of kittens that had been at the shelter for over a month. They were becoming healthy and social when, suddenly, they developed a serious virus that claimed three of their lives. This was heartbreaking, but inst
First, an update on what is happening with the future of our sheltering operations at the Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The Cumberland County freeholders hosted a meeting inviting all the mayors in order to present the towns with the information the board has gathered concerning who is responsible for sheltering and the costs associated with it. It sounds as though the powers that be in the county realize that it would be a very expensive undertaking to have to operate a county-owned facility, and it isn’t practical or affordable for municipalities to undertake such operations individually.The freeholder board has offered a general idea of how the burden might be shared, and now it’s time for all the parties to come together and form a detailed plan for the future. At this point, it will be important for the municipalities to have a better understanding of what is involved in the entire process of not just impounding strays for the seven-day legal hold, but also what happens to those animals after that.
The focus in shelters across the nation is to drastically reduce the number of homeless animals that are euthanized to less than 10 percent – with that 10 percent being only the truly aggressive or unhealthy. That is where the shared responsibility of a caring community comes into play. Those homeless pets must be cared for and ultimately placed with owners who will care for them properly.And that, my friends, is a very big commitment.
It is an effort that most often requires much more than a week in the shelter; the average stay for shelter animals last year was 28 days. It is an effort that requires funds for veterinary care, staff to maintain the animals, and staff to administer all their paperwork from the day they walk in to the day they leave. It is an effort that requires a facility to maintain the animals and provide electric, heat, air, insurance, food, litter, etc.The bottom line: NOBODY wants shelter animals to be needlessly euthanized, and EVERYBODY wants a happy ending. To that end, we must find an efficient, responsible and compassionate solution.In the meantime, as of last week’s count, we have 177 cats and 45 dogs in the shelter as well as another 114 of our animals in foster homes. I’d like to take this opportunity to get back to the task at hand, which is to get those 336 into their forever homes. One of our “most in need” pets is a beefy guy named Randy. Randy has been with us since Aug. 31, and he’s been passed over time and time again. His seven-day stray hold has been over for two whole months but he’s still with us, still waiting. He desperately needs the attention of volunteers to walk him and help him deal with life in a kennel. He may need a foster home to give him a break, a vacation if you will, if he can’t be placed soon. He needs a home, someone to love and appreciate him, someone to keep him from becoming an unfortunate statistic.
Giving Randy, and all the thousands and thousands of homeless animals who have come before him, those opportunities is what our shelter has been doing for more than 70 years. I can only hope that we are afforded the opportunity to help the thousands that will come after him.
The rush continues in the efforts to save our shelter from discontinuing services at the end of the year. We’ve been supplying the Cumberland County Board of Freeholders with information about our organization so that they might better understand what the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals does and what needs to happen in order for us to survive.At this point, we have no idea what that will lead to, but we do know that the county will be communicating with the individual municipalities and hopefully coming to some understanding of what their roles are in all of this. Since the vast majority of our animals come in as strays from our municipal contracts, the successful resolution to the problem can only come with their cooperation.
Unlike the counties and municipalities around us, our local government entities take responsibility for only the seven-day period for which stray animals must be legally held. After that week, the animals and all the costs associated with care and placement of them falls on the Cumberland County SPCA shelter. There is no time limit on the animals’ length of stay; they may be here for weeks or months. We make every effort to get all adoptable animals into new homes or out to rescues that can help place them. When infants come in to the shelter, they are sent to foster homes until they are weaned and big enough to be fixed and placed; that can be eight weeks or more of sustenance and medical care. We have adult pets, especially the older ones, that don’t fly out the door but that we know will make great companions to someone if we can just find the right home; they also may be here for weeks or months. Often the shelter animals come down with upper respiratory infections because they have come to us unvaccinated; they must then be provided care until they recover, again taking weeks.
If individual municipalities were forced to maintain their own impound facilities for stray pets, they would not have the resources or the infrastructure to care for those animals from the day they were taken in until the day that they could be placed in homes. It is a long, laborious process from the day of entry to the day of adoption or transfer. The only solution is for our towns to work together through the county to act responsibly and humanely.That process has to start within the towns themselves. Adopting and enforcing ordinances that promote good stewardship of our pet population would be the obvious first step. Utilizing licensing fees for spay and neuter funds is a no-brainer. Providing resources to help get cats fixed through grants or public funding is an absolute must. Penalizing the backyard breeders that fill our shelter with difficult-to-place dogs would be instrumental in cutting back the overpopulation of pit bulls.
Election Day is just one short week away. Please contact your candidates and make sure that know the importance of these issues and having them handled properly.In the meantime, please remember that our shelter is still here, still packed full of pets needing your support, your compassion and your help.
Source: Race is on to save SPCA shelter
Well, last week certainly was interesting – first in terms of animal sheltering in Cumberland and Salem counties, and then animal cruelty law enforcement in New Jersey.The State Commission of Investigation report on the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was dismal on all counts. Although we received our initial charter from them back in the 1940s, we are a completely separate entity and are not a subject of those findings. The SCI has suggested that enforcement powers should be placed in the hands of animal control officers (ACOs) that work under the auspices of police or health departments. The Legislature will have to decide how to move forward to ensure that the enforcement powers are in the hands of trained people with the resources and oversight necessary to meet the extreme demands of animal cruelty investigations in today’s world.
There is no simple answer, but it’s time for some serious consideration from the state of New Jersey on these matters. If the state and county SPCAs are to remain in charge of upholding these laws, they must be properly organized and overseen as all other law enforcement entities in the state are. They must be afforded the resources to properly investigate and prosecute when necessary. They cannot remain in this blurred atmosphere of being a nonprofit, volunteer organization and an instrumentality of the government at the same time.More: Here’s why the SPCA shelter can’t survive
If the SPCAs are disbanded, it’s not just a simple matter of having animal control officers take over their duties. Unless counties provide county-run animal control for their cities, many municipalities contract out with private ACOs. These private contractors do not fall under the police or health departments, and would therefore not meet the criteria suggested in the SCI report. Counties and cities that provide animal control, such as Gloucester and Vineland, would need to have their ACOs go through training for humane law enforcement and would most probably need to increase the number of officers they have available. Humane law enforcement officers (HLEOs) work long days conducting investigations as well as time spent preparing and going to court. It can’t be accomplished on an 8-to-4 basis, and there would also need to be an HLEO on call for emergencies.
In the case of humane law enforcement, the state of New Jersey has failed to step up to enforcing today’s standards of protecting our animals by leaving a system in place that has not been changed since its inception during the mid-1800s. In the case of our South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter, we need our local government entities to take some responsibility and reflect the compassionate nature of our residents that have put them in office. No matter how or what happens, it will take money to address the needs and protections of our animals; perhaps that’s why these things haven’t been properly dealt with in the past. Ya think?
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.
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.
|Joe Derellaemail@example.com||164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
|Darlene Barberfirstname.lastname@example.org||164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
|Carman Daddarioemail@example.com||164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
|Carol Mussofirstname.lastname@example.org .nj us||164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
|Joseph Sparacioemail@example.com||164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
|Jim Saurofirstname.lastname@example.org||164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
|Jim Quinnemail@example.com||164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
|Michael Santiagofirstname.lastname@example.org||City of Millville
P.O. Box 609
Millville, NJ 08332
|Jeanne Hitchneremail@example.com||City of Millville
P.O. Box 609
Millville, NJ 08332
|Albert Kellyfirstname.lastname@example.org||City of Bridgeton
330 Fayette St.
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
|Pam Humphriesemail@example.com||Township of Commercial
1768 Main Street
Port Norris, NJ 08349
|Hannah Nicolsfirstname.lastname@example.org||Township of Commercial
1768 Main Street
Port Norris, NJ 08349
|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
|Lois Yarringtonemail@example.com||Hopewell Township
590 Shiloh Pike
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
|Bruce Hankinsfirstname.lastname@example.org||Hopewell Township
590 Shiloh Pike
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
|Brad Campbellemail@example.com||Borough of Shiloh
Shiloh, NJ 08353
|Ronald Campbellfirstname.lastname@example.org||Borough of Shiloh
Shiloh, NJ 08353
|Bruce Porteremail@example.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 Shanefirstname.lastname@example.org||Alloway Township
49 S. Greenwich St.
P.O. Box 425
Alloway, NJ 08001-0425
|June Proffittemail@example.com||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 Jenningsfirstname.lastname@example.org||City of Salem
17 New Market Street
Salem, NJ 08079
|Senator Van Drew||SenVanDrew@njleg.org|