The Jersey City Health Department filed charges against shelter manager Hector Carbajales last week. According to city spokesperson Jennifer Morrill, the charges are violations of the state's regulated medical waste act and "creating conditions that is hazardous to the health of the residents of New Jersey."
These charges pertain to the findings of syringes along with the animal carcasses that authorities believe were allegedly used by Carbajales to euthanize stray animals he was picking up as part of his contracts with Union City and North Bergen.
Morrill also said that an examination of the carcasses done by a veterinarian retained by the city found that the animals had been dead for six to eight weeks before they were found.
That would place the last time the eight dogs, six cats and a goat were alive was sometime after April 11, when a judge ordered the Johnston Avenue shelter closed. At that time, other animals were taken to the other animal shelter in Jersey City, the Liberty Humane Society shelter.
If that wasn't bad enough, the state's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals suspended the charter of the Hudson County SPCA last week, and announced it will be conducting their own investigation of what took place at the shelter, according to NJSPCA spokesperson Matt Stanton.
Carbajales responded last week to the state SPCA suspending the charter.
"The Hudson County SPCA is no longer running," said Carbajales, a Union City resident. "They jumped the gun, and they should have waited for the outcome of the allegations."
The SPCA was shut down in May after inspections by the city and state earlier in the year found violations, and local animal activists petitioned for the facility to be shut.
A judge has asked Carbajales to fix the poor conditions at the shelter, but so far, it has not happened.
Carbajales and his wife Zoe are scheduled to appear in Guttenberg Municipal Court on Tuesday, July 15 at 6 p.m. to answer to animal cruelty charges against them pertaining to the city inspection of the shelter in January as well as hear their counter complaint against animal control officer Joe Frank for allegedly taking animals out of the shelter without following proper procedure.
Follow the money
While these problems have made the public red with anger, there is also the matter of the missing green from the SPCA's coffers.
Articles in the Jersey Journal newspaper reported that Carbajales withdrew almost $12,000 from the SPCA's bank account in multiple installments ranging from $40 to $2,200 in April.
Records from Sovereign Bank provided to the Jersey City Reporter show that the account was one of three that the SPCA started all at the same time in August 2003.
Three accounts were formed by the SPCA in August 2003 with starting deposits of $100, $30,000, and $50,000 respectively.
The $30,000 account was the one that Carbajales apparently withdrew money from in April. It was down to $40.10 by the end of May.
The $50,000 account, a money-market fund, was allowed to accrue interest in its first nine months of existence until a $33,000 deposit in May 2004. But by May 2007, the deposit was down to zero funds.
The $100 account was a fairly active account that by July 2006, when Carbajales became interim president, had a balance of $2,903. By the end of June 2007, that deposit went down to zero funds.
Carbajales was not the president of the SPCA at the time the accounts were formed, but had been a SPCA board member. He became interim president in July 2006.
The account Carbajales used in April was apparently the only one that still had money left.
For more on the Hudson County SPCA past and present, check out www.hudsoneporter.com
Comments on this story can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org