Monday, October 13, 2014

Update: Jersey Animal Coalition Shelter to Close Next Month

The Jersey Animal Coalition shelter off of Walton Avenue in South Orange is expected to close on November 11.

A post on the JAC website reads "Jersey Animal Coalition feels compelled to leave its no-kill shelter immediately because of the lack of support from the local administrations of South Orange and Maplewood".

According to a press release from JAC, the organization "currently has found safe haven for the all of its remaining cats, and arrangements are being made to ensure the safety of one remaining dog". A Facebook post from last week read "the staff and volunteers have succeeded in saving the animals and placing them into responsible and loving homes, sanctuaries, fosters, rescues, or temporary boarding facilities". Announcements were made at Columbia High School last week encouraging students to adopt animals from the shelter. 

The shelter was originally closed by the South Orange Health Department after an inspection on March 12. At the time, JAC was charged with over 50 violations. The shelter remained closed until July, when the JAC sued the village and several village agencies and employees. That day, a Superior Court judge in Newark ordered that the shelter be allowed to reopen. Adoptions resumed that evening. 

"It is a very sad day", said former volunteer coordinator Nancy Schetelick in an email to Essex County Place. "This could have been a wonderful shelter if properly managed", adding that she hopes that the village can find a "good solution" for homeless animals. 

"JAC's refusal to accept responsibility for their mess and their failure to remedy the numerous violations was tragic and the absolute cause of their being shut down", said former volunteer Gale Petrecca.

JAC president and founder Ruth Perlmutter told Essex County Place that the Village ordered that all animals be removed from the JAC shelter by October 11. 

"We fulfilled our promise to our animals that they wouldn't lose their lives", said Perlmutter.

Perlmutter also responded to comments reportedly made by Village Administrator Barry Lewis' to the Village Green in September regarding ill animals at the shelter.
 "We treated sick animals and didn't just keep them", said Perlmutter. "Over the years, when the few animals we had that were suffering from terminal illnesses or injuries and medical treatment could not help them, we humanely euthanized them".

Lewis and Village Deputy Administrator Adam Loehner did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"It's not over yet", added Perlmutter.

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