After receiving a number of complaints regarding the Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter in NJ, the Middlesex County Health Department inspected the pound on September 26 and September 30. The South Brunswick Post reports that the first inspection report indicated multiple problems including the importation of dogs from the south without proper health certificates, housing healthy cats in the isolation area with sick cats, failure to record identification numbers on dog and cat records, failure to record parvo test results and cages not being cleaned with appropriate frequency.
Also on September 26, a letter from the Director of the Office of Health Services for the Middlesex Department of Public Safety and Health to the Helmetta pound advised that a cat was adopted out and subsequently diagnosed with panleukopenia. The letter indicated “that all felines adopted within the next 10 calendar days must be seen by a veterinarian and cleared for adoption prior to finalizing of said adoption.”
This lead to conflicting reports of whether the Helmetta pound was closed for adoptions or not. Pound director Michal Cielesz further muddied the waters by making what appear to be wildly contradictory statements to the South Brunswick Post:
“We are doing our due diligence to make sure we do the right thing,” she said.
Ms. Cielesz said that there were two or three cats in the adoption room with “upper respiratory infections coming on.”
We’re doing the right thing but there are sick cats in the adoption room with healthy cats?
“The cats were checked in the morning and we had a vet here,” she said. “We were examining the kittens. The kittens were bright, alert, and responsive. We came back a half a hour later and (one had) passed away. I don’t know what happened and there was a veterinarian here.”
Bright, alert and responsive to dead in 30 minutes or less? How does this not raise an All Hands on Deck emergency within a shelter housing 150 cats?
But this isn’t the Helmetta pound’s first rodeo. The NJ SPCA has also issued written warnings to the facility and will conduct unannounced follow up inspections to verify compliance. And the New Jersey State Humane Police sent a letter to the Helmetta Borough Administrator last month regarding an investigation conducted in August. The issues detailed in that letter include “failure to supply a living animal necessary care” for 3 sick kittens and administering improper doses of medicine to animals.
The Helmetta pound kills feral cats as a matter of policy. And not only are they importing animals from the south, they reportedly shipped a group of cats to a shelter in SC. Gee, last I checked, we have plenty of shelter cats already in SC. And since most of them are going to the landfill, there is no way we should be importing more from NJ. I don’t know what brain trust was behind that brilliant plan but hopefully they’ll go back to their day jobs soon.
In the meantime, the Helmetta pound director dismisses critics because haters gonna hate:
“It’s a personal campaign,” Ms. Cielesz said. “It’s not about the animals. I don’t think this (controversy) benefits the animals.”
Well it doesn’t “benefit the animals” in the same way that housing sick cats with healthy ones does or setting up shop as an animal importer/exporter when you can’t manage to get vet care for sick kittens or even notice when one is just minutes away from death. But yeah, it’s prolly a personal thing. Whaddaya gonna do?
(Thanks Clarice for the links.)