Montclair, NJ Community Wants to Improve Shelter

The animal shelter in Montclair, NJ reportedly has a kill rate of approximately 11%.  That’s a pretty good save rate when compared to the national average.  Apparently some local pet advocates have complaints about how the shelter operates and are asking the shelter, which was taken over by the municipality last year, to become a no kill facility:

Montclair’s municipal government is denying accusations from local animal rights activists that there is a “crisis situation” at the Montclair Animal Shelter resulting in a high euthanasia rate for sheltered animals.


Sue Portuese, the municipality’s health director, said municipal officials and shelter employees are working to correct some of the problems raised by critics. The shelter, open two hours every weekday, has increased its hours to include one evening per week, as well as weekends, Portuese said.

In addition, the shelter is planning several off-site events to promote the facility and attract possible pet owners, she added.

Those sound like good improvements.  Frankly, if they are saving 89% of their pets by being open only 2 hours a day and without offsite adoption events, I’m very impressed.  But while the shelter seems to be on the right track, there’s nothing wrong with members of the community advocating for no kill.  After all, becoming no kill is a community effort and if that’s what the public wants, I think we should encourage them, not discourage them:

In an economic environment where teachers and police officers face layoffs, it is challenging for an animal shelter to obtain the amount of money it needs to run a shelter properly, according to John Snyder, a vice president of The Humane Society of the United States.

“And if [Montclair] had not been in this business and they just walked in, they might be in a learning mode,” Snyder told The Times.

Municipalities and other governmental agencies can’t “just warehouse animals” in shelters, he said. Running a shelter requires community involvement, a good foster network, behavioral training, and myriad resources, Snyder said.

“You can’t flip a switch and say you don’t want to euthanize animals anymore,” he said.

OK thanks Debbie Downer.  I started out feeling positive and encouraged about this shelter.  Now I’m all glass-half-empty.

Montclair is already saving most of its community’s pets – it’s not like it’s a giant leap to becoming no kill.  There is no need for HSUS to sound the old warehousing (pdf) alarm.  Montclair is already doing a good job.  They would probably appreciate some encouragement.  And maybe some cash, if you can spare it.  Oh that’s right – you totally can.

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