Animal cruelty enforcement in NJ needs a reboot

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?

Source: Animal cruelty enforcement in NJ needs a reboot

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 164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Darlene Barber 164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Carman Daddario 164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Carol Musso carolmu@co.cumberland .nj us 164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Joseph Sparacio 164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Jim Sauro 164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Jim Quinn 164 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Other Cumberland & Salem County City & Township Officials
Michael Santiago City of Millville
P.O. Box 609
Millville, NJ 08332
Jeanne Hitchner City of Millville
P.O. Box 609
Millville, NJ 08332
Albert Kelly City of Bridgeton
330 Fayette St.
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Pam Humphries Township of Commercial
1768 Main Street
Port Norris, NJ 08349
Hannah Nicols Township of Commercial
1768 Main Street
Port Norris, NJ 08349
Robert Campbell
Steve Wymbs Fairfield Twp Municipal Building
PO Box 240
70 Fairton Gouldtown Road
Fairton, NJ 08320
Benjamin Byrd Fairfield Twp Municipal Building
PO Box 240
70 Fairton Gouldtown Road
Fairton, NJ 08320
William Reinhart
Lois Yarrington Hopewell Township
Municipal Building
590 Shiloh Pike
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Bruce Hankins Hopewell Township
Municipal Building
590 Shiloh Pike
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Brad Campbell Borough of Shiloh
Box 349
Shiloh, NJ 08353
Ronald Campbell Borough of Shiloh
Box 349
Shiloh, NJ 08353
Bruce Porter Stow Creek Township
474 Macanippuck Rd
Bridgeton NJ 08302
James Crilley Upper Deerfield Twp.
1325 Highway 77
Seabrook, NJ 08302
Stephanie Shane Alloway Township
49 S. Greenwich St.
P.O. Box 425
Alloway, NJ 08001-0425
June Proffitt Twp. of Carney's Point
303 Harding Hwy.
Carney's Point, NJ 08069
Kevin Eachus Twp. of Pilesgrove
1180 Route 40
Pilesgrove, NJ 08098
Maureen Adbill 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 City of Salem
17 New Market Street
Salem, NJ 08079
Stacey Pennington
State Senators
Senator Van Drew
Senator Sweeney

Cumberland County SPCA animal shelter plans to close in December.

VINELAND – The Cumberland County SPCA plans to close its doors as an animal impound/shelter at the end of the year, if they don’t get some financial help, Bev Greco, the agency’s executive director, told The Daily Journal on Thursday.Letters are going out to 19 municipalities in Cumberland and Salem counties that have animal services contracts with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals with notifications that the contracts, expiring Dec. 31, will not be renewed.“I don’t know what else to do,” Greco said.A “perfect storm” of court rulings and health code changes increased costs to the point where the SPCA is unable to operate as a shelter, Greco said. However, they will continue their law enforcement animal cruelty duties.When contacted Thursday, Cumberland County Freeholder Director Joe Derella said the board was briefly updated about the SPCA’s financial situation a couple months ago.

“We were unaware that they were at this point that they are actually going to be closing their doors,” he said. The shelter is facing closure. Derella said he planned to reach out to county administrator Ken Mecouch and county legal adviser Ted Baker.“We need to have a conversation with the SPCA, in regards to where they are at,” he said.

The state Superior Courts in Monmouth and Gloucester ruled SPCAs are public agencies, despite their nonprofit status, Greco said, explaining this puts them in a financial gray area. SPCAs are now charged with the additional responsibilities and liabilities of being a “public agency” but they can’t request funding for that because they are still “nonprofit,” she said. Greco noted she can’t anticipate what the budget increases will total because “I don’t know what I don’t know,” noting several of the changes came down in June.Devoting SPCA funds to increasing administrative costs rather than to direct animal care “defeats the purpose,” Greco said. The shelter, which has served the area for more than 70 years, takes in about 4,500 to 5,200 animals each year.

Believing the court decisions are incorrect, Greco said the local SPCA does not have the resources to challenge the rulings.“We can’t sit here and bleed to death,” she said. “We had to make a decision, if we can’t do sheltering right — if we have to sacrifice being able to save animals — then we can’t continue; it goes against our mission.”When the shelter closes Dec. 31, the SPCA will continue to care for the animals in their custody until they are placed. They will not take in any more animals, including those from the public.What will happen next, Greco said she does not know.“The county and the municipalities are going to have to come up with a plan for that,” she said.That’s the fundamental issue, she said, “they sympathize but they haven’t stepped up to the plate.”“This is a community responsibility and the local governments are going to have to figure out a way to handle the future of animals,” she said.

Derella told The Daily Journal that the freeholder board “never received a formal request to subsidize anything.”The county does annually contribute $20,000 to the SPCA for animal cruelty investigations.Should the shelter close, Derella said, it would “significantly” impact the municipalities that use it as an impound center.“If there is no more shelter here, they may have to go to a private vendor or out-of-county, at least that is the way it was described to us,” he said.The freeholders do not have specifics about the shelter’s operations and budget, Derella said.“We’ve got to have some communications with the SPCA board of directors to see what the potential avenues could be,” he said. “I don’t know legally where we can go from a nonprofit standpoint.”What would prevent other nonprofits that provide services to residents requesting county funding, Derella said. “Whe

Source: Cumberland County SPCA animal shelter plans to close in December.

Read the next article, explaining more about why CCSPCA may close its doors.

Life lessons learned from our foster pets

Sometimes there is nothing more refreshing than seeing life through the eyes of a child.  My daughter, now 3 years old, has made fostering a totally new experience.  While I cannot foster like I used to (all the animals, all the time!), it’s been extra special when we do. I have found fostering to be a wonderful way to teach her important life lessons.

Last spring, we fostered an adorable puppy named McKinleigh. She was originally seized as a cruelty case, with her littermates and mom, when she was very tiny. She spent a few weeks with her mom and siblings, but as it neared time for adoption, her foster mom noticed that she was extremely shy and her littermates were running all over her (literally). We thought a chance to socialize with some older dogs and break out on her own would benefit her as she waited for an adoptive home. McKinleigh did great here, and my daughter Alissa adored her. I have some seriously precious pictures of the two of them snuggling and playing together. In fact, I began to worry about what would happen when the puppy left. Was I setting my child up for heartbreak? How would she ever forgive me for adopting out her beloved puppy?

I prepared her by reminding her often that we were doing a job – getting McKinleigh ready for her forever home. I explained that we couldn’t keep her because we needed to be able to help other animals. I took Alissa to adoption events where we looked for a family for the puppy together. When the perfect family came along for McKinleigh, Alissa was able to meet them and say goodbye. She was sad, but she understood so much better than I expected. Thanks to social media, we have been able to see pictures of McKinleigh as she grows up, and Alissa is always so happy to see her in her new home.

 I really wanted to just tell Alissa that Magoo was getting adopted. I dreaded this conversation, for although she is only 3 years old, her ability to process and question astounds me. But I knew that wasn’t the right thing to do. I talked to her about how Magoo was only happy when he was sleeping and how his eye hurt him. I very carefully explained that we could give him medicine that would let him fall asleep, then his spirit would go to heaven and his body wouldn’t wake up. I was a nervous mess and struggled with my words to make sure I wasn’t causing my daughter permanent emotional distress. After I was finished my speech, she said: “I’m happy his eye won’t hurt him anymore. Goodbye, Magoo.” And then she asked if she could go out and play.

I realized this mirrored my struggle. It was so difficult to let him go; I wanted so badly for him to get better. So many “what if’s” went through my head. But my daughter made me realize that I could focus on the release that Magoo experienced, rather than the loss I was experiencing. I also realized that she inevitably would face a situation that forced us to discuss death. Although the loss of our foster dog was sad, he was clearly old and unhappy; it was an introduction to the most difficult of life lessons that made sense. I’m grateful her little mind was able to process this and better prepare her for the lessons to come.

Raising a child is quite an incredible task. In addition to meeting all her physical needs, teaching her to write and read and master academic skills, I’m responsible for teaching her what she needs to learn in order to go out into the world one day and make it a better place. Fostering animals has been the perfect way for me to begin teaching her the lessons she needs to learn in order to change the world.

Source: Life lessons learned from our foster pets

Getting pets to safety after hurricanes is long battle

Harvey, Irma, Maria – as if the situation for homeless animals wasn’t bad enough, three major hurricanes hitting the U.S. and Puerto Rico in less than a month is having a have a major impact on stray and shelter animals in those hard-hit areas, as well as repercussions throughout the country.Puerto Rico has a horrendous problem with overpopulation of companion animals. In the most recent estimate, there were approximately 300,000 stray dogs and a million stray cats fighting for survival on the streets and beaches. The island is approximately the size of Connecticut and has (or had … who knows now?) only five small, ill-equipped, poorly funded shelters. I shudder to think of what the island animals have been going through during their brush with Irma and now the full wrath of Maria.

The flooding and ensuing disease will surely mean a terrible death for a large number of these dogs and cats. The island has suffered such catastrophic damage that it has prevented relief organizations from assessing the situation as of yet. Further complicating the rescue efforts is the fact that those disaster response groups are already stretched to their limit because of Harvey and Irma.

Rescue groups have been bringing shelter animals up from the South and distributing them to northern shelters in hopes of finding them homes. This requires a tremendous effort, which comes with major expense and some disease-control issues. Getting the animals to safety is only half the battle; then they must be vaccinated, treated for any medical concerns, quarantined for a while to make sure they are healthy and, finally, found homes. This means disaster relief organizations and the receiving shelters will need support during this heroic effort.It’s hard not to be touched by the pictures of the animals who are the victims of these events, and many people will be moved to adopt one of them. If you are so inclined, I want to remind you to make sure any animals that currently share your home are fully vaccinated, including the less common canine influenza vaccine for dogs. Canine influenza is relatively new and scarce in our part of the country, but may be brought in by dogs entering the state from more affected areas. Any time you bring a new animal from any source into your fold, you should bring your other pets up-to-date on vaccines. Your veterinarian should be consulted for advice on preventive care for both vaccines and parasite treatments. On that same note, please keep in mind that Oct. 21 is the last low-cost vaccine clinic of the year at the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter.

Let’s hope that the Atlantic Ocean is tapped out for this hurricane season. I think we’ve all had enough of watching these disasters unfold on The Weather Channel!

Source: Getting pets to safety after hurricanes is long battle

Harvey, Irma bring challenges to SPCA in Vineland

This summer has been an extremely fast-paced season here at the shelter. As it should be, pets have been flying out the door – through adoptions, transfers to our sister shelters, and help from our rescue partners. Sadly, though, animals continue to pour in the door, leaving the staff at the Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in a constant whirlwind of trying to address the needs of thousands of cats and dogs.Our cages and kennels have been completely filled all summer long, and now, with the hurricanes in Texas and Florida, our options to move animals out to other organizations have dried up as those shelters and rescues are trying to absorb thousands of displaced animals from those disaster areas. What does this mean for the homeless pet here in our shelter? It means they need you more than ever.

You may have seen some local new stories about other shelters in New Jersey taking in shipments of animals from down South and out West; those shelters are the same shelters that typically take our overflow. This leaves us with no transfer options and completely dependent on adoptions. We normally send an average of 150 cats and dogs out to our partners every month, so you can imagine the pinch we’re in. More importantly, please try to imagine the pinch our homeless pets are in.We get new animals in every single day of the year, but we also have some who have been sitting here, passed over time and again while others are chosen and whisked off to their new lives. The cute ones, the young ones, the ones that come in with a sob story behind them, are always the first to be chosen. It’s hard to watch dogs and cats whom we know to have wonderful personalities be left behind because they are Plain Janes or a little long in the tooth or, heaven forbid, have some pit bull mixed in somewhere.

We have little miss Nessa Rose who has been with us for almost two months now. She’s just a little over a year old and has a fantastic personality. Although she has the slighter build and pushed-in face of a boxer, she also has the misfortune of having some pit in her mix. And she has one of those faces “only a mother could love.” She’s truly one of the nicest dogs you’ll ever meet, but no one even notices her.We have a wonderful classic tabby named Connie, who has been with us since July. Tired of being cooped up in her cage in the adoption room, she wheedled her way into the heart of one of our staff and has now taken up residence in her office. Connie is about 8 years old, so she’s a “mature adult.” Are you familiar with the pop song “All About That Bass”? Well, if she could sing, she’d be all about that song; she’s no “stick figure Barbie doll” and she rather likes to throw her weight around. Her age and her matronly figure have worked against her, making her another great pet who gets overlooked.

We also have kittens of every description, and dogs of every size and age, who need to be adopted. If we can just get through the next month or so, the number of incoming animals will slow down and our partners will be back to accepting our overflow. But for now, please consider making one of our homeless pets a success story by taking one home.

Source: Harvey, Irma bring challenges to SPCA in Vineland

Vineland SPCA: Heartbreaking choices for poor seniors with pets

In responding to reports of animal neglect and cruelty, we sometimes come across situations where our concern for the people involved is just as great as it is for the animals. Often when pets are at risk, the people that own or care for them are also facing issues such as abuse and poverty.In a recent investigation at the Cumberland County SPCA, we were reminded that there are many elderly folks out there who lack financial stability and have no family or support network to fall back on. They are often extremely attached to their pets, as their animals are their main source of comfort and companionship.

So what is to be done when a senior hasn’t the means to care for their pet properly? Removing the animal is a lousy choice, because it then leaves the person without what may very well be one of the few joys in their life. Resources to assist the owners may be limited, but the one thing we can all do is be proactive in addressing these types of situations before they become serious.Case in point: Our investigators responded to a report involving an injured cat in need of veterinary care. When they arrived at the property, they knocked on the door and were greeted by an elderly lady. It was too late for the animal that initially was involved, as it had already passed away. There were, however, two cats inside the house that were suffering severe flea infestations to the point of having major hair loss and anemia. The woman, who was displaying some signs of dementia, also was covered in fleas. She had no running water in the house, and a neighbor had hooked up a hose so that she could flush the toilet. She was also receiving some help from another benevolent organization to pay her utility bills. She has no car, no family and no other help.

Now what? We can remove the cats, but that will only make the flea infestation worse in the house and, in turn, for the owner. We could help her get flea medication for the cats, but the house would have to be treated and she is unable to do it herself, and she would have no place to go during the treatment. Even just using over-the-counter flea bombs would be a huge risk, because they are so flammable and because there is no guarantee the lady would stay out of the house during the treatment or be able to do the necessary cleanup afterwards.Because of the severity of the problems, this is a no-win situation. Beyond concern for the cats, the lady herself is in serious need of help. I have alerted the necessary senior services organizations and hope they will be able to step in and help her. In the meantime, we are helping with the cats and will remove them if necessary. I wish, though, that someone had been aware of her situation sooner and had alerted the relative service organizations before things had gotten so bad. Whether it was pride or disability that prevented her from asking for help herself, it’s a shame that she and the cats have been suffering and have reached this level of hardship.J

If you have elderly neighbors or acquaintances who have pets, there are many small ways that you can help look out for them. Consider offering transportation to the vet’s office, helping them shop for heavy items like cat litter and bags of food, taking their dogs for a walk on occasion, or just looking in on them every once in a while. Remember, too, it doesn’t have to be a report of cruelty or neglect; you can always contact us with calls of concern.

Source: Vineland SPCA: Heartbreaking choices for poor seniors with pets

Dog bites: What should I do?

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report states approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs, and an additional 400,000 by cats, annually in the United States. These are only the cases that are reported; undoubtedly, there are many other bites that either did not require medical care or were omitted from the records that the CDC uses to compile its data. These statistics do not include bites from other species or serious scratches that require medical care.Whether a bite or scratch from an animal seems serious or not, it should always be cleaned immediately and thoroughly. Aside from the outside risk of being infected with rabies, of those 4.5 million dog bites, 900,000 of those victims end up with infections from their wounds. Cat scratch fever results in about 100,000 hospital visits each year. These statistics alone should be enough to convince you to take animal-related injuries seriously. But I also want to make you aware of a recent change in Trenton that makes it more important than ever that you report any encounters resulting in open wounds from animals, especially those from animals that may not be vaccinated against rabies.

Let’s start with the general process. When a person suffers an open wound from an animal, it should be reported to the local health department; doctor’s offices and hospitals are actually required to do so. At that point, in the case of a domestic animal that is in the hands of its owner or has been impounded at a shelter, the health department puts a 10-day quarantine hold on the cat or dog. The animal is observed during that period for any signs of illness that might indicate rabies. If the offending animal is a wild animal that can be captured, or a domestic animal that is showing signs of illness, the health department may determine it should be tested for rabies. In New Jersey, from Jan. 1 through June 30 of this year, 78 animals tested positive for the disease: Raccoons were first, with 48 infections; skunks, second with 12; and cats, third with 11.More: How to plan a pet-friendly vacationMore: Menantico Road in Vineland reopensHere’s where the change comes into play. In the past, samples from the infected animals were sent to labs in Trenton and the results would typically be back in two days. Due to some change in the preparedness of our state lab, samples are now sent from Trenton to an out-of-state lab and the results are not available for about five days. This is significant because if you suffer a scratch or bite that breaks skin by an animal that may have rabies, you must start treatment by having a series of rabies vaccines within three days of the bite.

A couple of weeks ago, one of our staff members at the Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was scratched on a Thursday by a kitten that came had come in with some neurological symptoms. The local health department responded accordingly, and this was the first we learned of the delay in receiving test results. The kitten tested negative, but it was the following Wednesday before word came back from the state, and our technician already had to start the human vaccine series.

Please keep your own animals current on their rabies vaccines and be quick to address any open wounds from animals that you or your family might suffer.

Source: Dog bites: What should I do?

Pet friendly vacation tips

I am very fortunate in that: (A) I get to go away on vacation a couple of times a year; and (B) I get to take my dogs with me. These vacations usually involve the beach or the mountains, and they are always in areas that tout themselves as being pet-friendly.My criteria are as follows:I must be able to rent a pet-friendly house.I must be able to get the dogs out during the day for some physical activity, such as walking on the beach, hiking on trails or walking around small towns with shops and galleries.If it’s warm weather, there must be restaurants with outdoor seating areas that allow dogs.These things normally get a whole lot easier once I get OUT of New Jersey.

People often are amazed when I tell them that I’m going to travel with my dogs, but I assure you that, with a little planning, it can be a great experience. The internet makes it incredibly easy to find accommodations, restaurants and activities for you and your dog, so give it some consideration the next time you’re planning a trip. For rentals, check out sites like Vacation Rental by Owner or; it’s usually easier to deal directly with rental owners than with real estate agencies. For activities and restaurants, check out, but don’t limit yourself to their listings alone as there are many businesses that aren’t registered with that website but are still open pet traffic.Last week, I packed up the car and took a week to hike up in Lake Placid and then over in the White Mountain National Forest. Lake Placid is a beautiful area with loads of trails through the High Peaks area, dozens of restaurants in the downtown area, a lot of small non-chain shops and, of course, the Lake Placid Olympic Center and museum. It may be a little tougher to find a dog-friendly rental here, but there are a few motels that take them. It is definitely worth the trip.After a couple of days there, we drove into New Hampshire and spent the rest of the week hiking there and in the western part of Maine. There is only one strip of highway that skirts the national forest; the rest of the route has you making your way on breathtakingly beautiful back roads through the mountains and rolling hills. Don’t expect the idyllic New England village-type scenery through this area; it consists of forests, rough-hewn farms and remnants of towns that grew around the logging industry. The hiking there is not for the faint of heart, and your dogs need to be agile for the rocky, steep climbs. The trees are fabulous and the higher areas are aromatic with the smell of fresh balsam all around. The wildflowers and berries line the sides of the roads as well as the hiking trails.There are plenty of dog-friendly rental cabins in that area. The food … well, let’s just say that it’s best to go grocery shopping before you get up there, pack a cooler and plan on doing a little cooking. There are signs everywhere about moose crossings; we only got to see one measly moose the whole darn time. We even followed the tour vans that go out at night to spot them; no luck. The only other animals I got too see were two deer along the side of the road and three chickens that someone had dumped at a trailhead … the one hike that I had not planned in advance, and I end up helping a U.S. Forest Service ranger chase chickens for nearly an hour and a half.

Anyway, the next couple of months are the perfect time to see New England with your dog, with pleasant days and cool nights. I was able to get a cabin rental with only a week’s notice. So get in the car and take your “best friend” on a little adventure! Make sure you have a copy of his rabies certificate with you and know where you can find a vet in the area you’re visiting.

Source: Pet friendly vacation tips

Don’t adopt one pet this week – adopt two!

This weeks’ theme is “Two is Better than One.” While we’re featuring cats and kittens looking for a home, keep reading to learn about a bonded pair of dogs who are looking for a home together, too! And there’s one week left in our “Adopt 1, Adopt a 2nd for FREE” cat and kitten adoption special, which ends Aug. 19.  While lots of pairs of kittens and cats have found their homes in the past week, we want this last week to be even more successful! You can stop in the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter anytime to meet all the candidates for adoption. The Kitten Nursery is filled with adorable kittens of all colors and personalities hoping that you will pick them. You can pick a pair or make your own match of two singletons. Don’t forget – you can also adopt two adult cats!



Speaking of kittens, intake has been extremely high and the shelter is running alarmingly low on the supplies we must have on hand to care for the hundreds of kittens there and in foster care. If you can’t adopt, can you consider donating? Some supplies that we really need include dry kitten food (food without dyes is preferred as the dyes upset little bellies), canned pate kitten food, baby blankets and small fleece throws, A/D Diet critical care canned food, and cat toys.

Since I know you are thinking that now may be the perfect time to adopt, here’s a pair to consider: Harley Quinn and Joker. This bonded brother/sister pair has been raised in a foster home, so we already know they get along great with other family pets and people. Harley Quinn is a total love bug, while the Joker is a total ladies’ man. Both kittens are tabby and white, and Joker has a little black dot on his nose. If you are looking for personality, check; if you are looking for adorable, check; if you are looking for a good deal, check; adopt Joker and Harley Quinn comes along for free.While not a traditional “pair” I suggest meeting two very special cats, Tina and Katie.  They are two of the cats who have been in the shelter the longest- for over 2 months!  Both are very lovely, sweet ladies who have lived with other cats and currently bunking right near each other. Katie is in the apartment right above Tina. Katie is a beautiful tabby cat with gorgeous, expressive eyes; Tina is a chubby white cat with tabby markings who has the more adorable little apple face. It would be icing on the cake to see these cats, whom we have had so much time to fall in love with, both find a home.You also should check out the “Lucky” litter: Ehren and Mischi. This pair also was raised in foster care, so they’re family-ready. Ehren is a black-and-white male and Michi is a black-and-white female with a little white mustache. Ehren and Michi are both very friendly and 12 weeks old.

On to our special canine pair. Head on into the shelter, proceed to the adoption kennels, walk almost to the end and look to your left. You will see a beautiful pair: Diamond and Max. Max is a big chocolate boy who has a big mouth – but don’t let that put you off, he’s just trying to get your attention. Out of the kennel he’s a big chocolatey marshmallow. Diamond is a gorgeous, smaller lady who is almost silver in color. Diamond arrived at the shelter for the first time in 2012, as a cruelty case. She was covered in wounds and emaciated. She looked like a skeleton and her expression was so defeated. She recovered in the shelter, and was soon happy and healthy and found an adoptive home. Sadly, she’s back at the shelter and brought along her best friend, Max. Since these two are such a special pair, you can adopt one and take the other home for free. We’re hoping this incentive keeps these two together and helps them find a home very quickly.Tina, Katie, Joker, Harley Quinn, Ehren, Mischi, and Diamond and Max are only a small sampling of the many cats, kittens, and dogs of all sizes that are at the shelter, waiting day after day for that special day when they are picked for adoption. Make that day today!

Source: Don’t adopt one pet this week – adopt two!