On behalf of the board of directors of the Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey (AWFNJ) the statewide association of animal shelters, rescue groups and humane agencies, I want to thank Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler, and the majority of the Jersey City Council for supporting the lease agreement that will allow the Liberty Humane Society to build a new state-of-the-art animal shelter for the animals and residents of Jersey City.
By law, every municipality in New Jersey must provide its citizens with reliable, safe and humane animal control and sheltering for stray dogs and cats. Jersey City has been unable to fulfill that mandate since the Hudson County SPCA adopted a no-kill limited admission policy last August. The Hudson County SPCA is the only animal shelter in Hudson County. When the shelter is full, it refuses to admit any more strays, leaving Animal Control Officers with no place to take animals. This has created an enormous crisis for the city. Just two weeks ago, for example, case workers from the Division of Youth and Family Services in Jersey City were confronted with some neglected dogs found in a home where the children had to be removed. Because the Hudson County SPCA was full, the case workers were forced to call animal shelters in Bergen, Essex and even Morris County and beg them to take in the dogs. At the Council meeting on Wednesday, over 40 people stood up to testify that over the past eight months Animal Control Officers desperate to find places to take stray animals, have asked them to take strays into their homes. It is wholly inappropriate for private citizens to be expected to turn their homes into animal shelters, as it poses a significant safety and liability risk.
Jersey City residents will benefit enormously from the agreement which leases land located on Route 440 and Communipaw Avenue to the Liberty Humane Society. The LHS, along with the three other leading animal welfare organizations in Hudson County (Animals Need You, Companion Animal Placement and the Huson County Animal League) have pledged to raise the entire amount for the construction of the shelter themselves. That means the taxpayers of Jersey City will get a new shelter without a single tax dollar being spent.
Again, we applaud Mayor Schundler and the majority of the Council for having the courage, the wisdom and the willingness to do the right thing.
Diana H. Jeffrey, Director
Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey