When NJ pet owner Jennifer Arteta went on a trip out of the country this month, she left her beloved young dogs Daphne and Rocko in the care of her father. For reasons unknown, Ms. Arteta’s father left Daphne and Rocko at the Elizabeth Animal Shelter on June 5.
When Ms. Arteta returned from her trip on June 7 and learned what had happened, she immediately went to the pound to reclaim her pets. Workers denied that the dogs had ever been there. Ms. Arteta noticed Rocko’s leash and collar at the pound and pressed staff on the issue but they continued to deny any knowledge of the dogs. Finally, someone admitted the dogs had been killed immediately upon impound on June 5.
NJ state law is clear on the 7 day mandatory holding period required for animals surrendered to pounds:
d. A shelter, pound, or kennel operating as a shelter or pound receiving an animal from a certified animal control officer pursuant to subsection a. of this section, or from any other individual, group, or organization, shall hold the animal for at least seven days before offering it for adoption, or euthanizing, relocating, or sterilizing the animal, except if:
(1)the animal is surrendered voluntarily by its owner to the shelter, pound, or kennel operating as a shelter or pound, in which case the provisions of subsection e. of this section shall apply; or
(2)the animal is suspected of being rabid, in which case the provisions of subsection j. of this section shall apply.
e.If a shelter, pound or kennel operating as a shelter or pound is not required to hold an animal for at least seven days pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection d. of this section, the shelter, pound, or kennel operating as a shelter or pound:
(1)shall offer the animal for adoption for at least seven days before euthanizing it; or
(2)may transfer the animal to an animal rescue organization facility or a foster home prior to offering it for adoption if such a transfer is determined to be in the best interest of the animal by the shelter, pound, or kennel operating as a shelter or pound.
The Elizabeth Animal Shelter appears to be in clear violation of the law regarding the immediate killings of Daphne and Rocko. The staff presumably knows this and thus the reason for the repeated lies to the owner. And it’s probably why they are hiding from the local media:
Neither the Elizabeth Animal Shelter, the city health department nor the mayor have returned requests for comment.
Ms. Arteta is heartbroken and describes Daphne and Rocko as a bonded pair who were likely scared and confused during their last hours alive. She has set up a Facebook page seeking justice for her pets and is planning to address the city council regarding the matter tonight.
Let’s all say it together: Nobody wants to kill animals. If we haven’t worked in a shelter, we have no right to criticize. It’s the irresponsible public’s fault that shelters “have to” kill pets.
Now that the bullshit is out of the way, maybe we can have a real conversation about monsters and the evil that is done in the name of the word “shelter” in this country.
(Thanks Arlene and another reader for sending me this story.)