State Inspector Finds Animals Suffering at NJ Pound

An inspector from the New Jersey Department of Health found numerous problems during a July inspection of the East Orange Animal Shelter.  The full report can be read here.  Among the items noted by the inspector (my summary):

  • The guillotine doors in two of the dog runs were glued shut.
  • Dogs were given broken beds that failed to get them off the floor.
  • Kittens were fed dry food from an unlabeled bin so it could not be determined whether it was actually kitten food or something else.
  • Food and water bowls were not cleaned and disinfected daily.
  • Some animals were left in cages with water bowls too small for their size despite appropriate sized bowls being in plentiful supply.  The small bowls were dry.

    Screengrab from the News12 website.
    Screengrab from the News12 website.
  • Many animals were left without water, including a mama cat and her three kittens.  The inspector asked an ACO to water them and once the water was put down, the inspector made this heart-wrenching note:  “The mother cat and kittens showed signs of excessive thirst and crowded to the water bowl after it was filled.  The mother cat was clenching her rear toes while drinking.”  The family drank all the water and the ACO was again asked to provide water.  The mother cat continued drinking from the refilled bowl.
  • Cats were not removed from their cages during cleaning which consisted of wiping down the cage with a paper towel that was dipped in a cleaning solution.
  • Cages were not being cleaned and disinfected properly.
  • Many empty cages, including those in the cat isolation area, were left dirty after the animal was removed.  Moldy food, decaying feces and other debris were left in the cages.
  • Sick and injured animals were not provided with prompt veterinary care, including a cat with a fractured, swollen leg that “crunched” when palpated.

    Screengrab from the News12 website.
    Screengrab from the News12 website.
  • One emaciated, dehydrated cat was vocalizing in distress.  The inspector was told by the staff the cat had not been eating or drinking during the 9 days she had been at the facility.  The vet had been informed of the cat’s condition one day prior to the inspection and responded he would check the cat the next week.  The cat weighed 11 pounds at intake and just 4 pounds on the day of inspection.  Her water bowl was empty.
  • The supervising vet showed up during the inspection and the inspector asked him to take the two most severely ill cats with him to his clinic for treatment but the vet refused.
  • There were no records indicating that animals were being medicated.
  • Sick animals were not moved to isolation and healthy animals were put in isolation upon impound as a holding area.  The ventilation for the isolation area goes directly to the general population housing.
  • Surrendered animals were being killed without proof of ownership nor any efforts to locate possible owners.  Some were killed the same day they were surrendered.
  • Animals were not weighed prior to being killed and the controlled substance log book was not being maintained accurately.  The ACO told the inspector that when the vet was on vacation for a week, they called him on the phone and he “walked them through” the killing procedure.
  • The crates in the AC vehicle were cracked and broken and contained dried blood and dirt.
  • Records were not kept properly and the inspector could not determine the disposition of many animals.
  • The same ID numbers were given to multiple animals and cage cards did not always match the animals inside the cages.
  • Some animals were unidentified, including both living and dead animals (in the freezer).
  • A microchipped dog who was surrendered with an adoption contract from another facility was killed.  The records did not indicate any reason for the killing nor any effort to contact the other facility to reclaim the dog.
  • Animals were being scanned for microchips upon intake only and not rescanned before disposition as required by law.

Yet another house of horrors disguised as a safe haven for animals.  But the truly baffling part is that this facility is in the magical north where we are told everything is daisies and My Little Pony for shelter pets because of MSN and responsible citizens.  So gee, how did this happen?  All the shelters shipping animals to the utopia north, take note.

(Thanks Nathan for sending me this story.)

20 thoughts on “State Inspector Finds Animals Suffering at NJ Pound

  1. Shit. And how does a vet get away with refusing care? This is bullshit and mass firings need to happen immediately. Then criminal charges.

    In fact, the animals need to be removed to safety and the place needs to be burned to the ground.

    1. The shameful actions of the vet are astonishing. He is literally phoning in the killings. He hears about a cat who hasn’t eaten in 9 days and tells them he’ll check on her the following week. But he manages to suddenly show up when he finds out the state inspector is there, looking over the results of all his neglect. Someone in NJ should file a complaint with the state vet board and request they conduct their own investigation.

  2. OMG!!!!!!! When did this hell hole reopen???????? The City had contracted to Associated Humane Society (another hell hole) in 1999. When did the City decided to take sheltering back? And that is a loose term, because they are just a POUND. I still have nightmares about this place and I was an ACO there back in the 90’s. The City still hasn’t figured out how to run a proper animal shelter. During the time I ran it the euthanasia rate went from 99% to around 50% and I formed a nonprofit to do adoptions because the City was “not interested”. At one point my boss asked me if there was some (magical) place in the country we could take all the cats. Another boss wanted to know why we were purchasing dish soap. At least while I was there all the animals got proper medical care and were treated humanely, including humane euthanasia. I can only imagine what is going on there now because the City doesn’t give a crap.

  3. I am not aware of a significant number of southern animals ending up in northern pounds. Is there documentation for this?

    1. Transports bring them north all of the time. In fact, I know that Rescue Wagon (Petco or Petsmart?) has a regular schedule. Our local humane society brings in young dogs and puppies all of the time.

    2. 17% of all the dogs coming into New Jersey animal shelters come from out of state. While a small percentage may come from nearby large cities, like Philadelphia and New York, the overwhelming number come from the south. To put it another way, New Jersey shelters rescued more than 4 times as many dogs from out of state than from other New Jersey animal shelters in 2013.

      You can read details about the plight of homeless animals in New Jersey below along with the actual 2013 statistics:

      Please note rescues without shelters pull many more out of state dogs, which are not included in the above statistics.

      1. I’ve heard that this happens, but why? Every day in NYC, for example, there is a huge list of cats and dogs killed every day, at all of the boroughs! It doesn’t make sense. Do they get more donations because the animals come from us ignorant, red-neck, hillbilly southerners?

      2. Puppies bring in BIG BUCKS, and that is the reason they bring them up. Sad part is, most of them a year later, after they are no longer wanted end up in shelters up North

    3. Yes there is. They are sending them in by the thousands weekly. If you OPRA request certain municipalities you can get the records showing they are coming up from the North. There are also a ton of rescues bringing in just puppies and flipping them without vetting.

  4. Thank you for posting this story. Many people have been fighting this regressive pound for over a year. In the great state of New Jersey, local health departments, which in this city and many others, run the shelter. However, these very same health departments are responsible for inspecting the shelter for compliance with the state’s shelter laws.

    The New Jersey Department of Health, which is the only agency that does proper inspections, also has the right to inspect, but now rarely does so unless a big stink is made given they only have a single inspector for all of the state’s shelters and pet shops.

    The city did have an excellent ACO who significantly increased the live release rate last year, but was fired after she raised issues the city refused to rectify with the NJ SPCA. Subsequently, the NJ Department of Health inspected and found horrific problems, such as a fly infestation so severe that live animals with a skin abrasion had the risk of maggots growing inside them.

    This former ACO has been going to hostile East Orange City Council meetings since then with some other local advocates and fighting for change.

    As you can see from this report, little has improved. You can read more details in these links:

    Also, you can see the latest developments on the Reform East Orange Animal Shelter Facebook page:

    In case you were wondering, New Jersey has one of the lowest per capita shelter intake rates in the country (about 9 dogs and cats per 1,000 people statewide, 6.8 dogs and cats per 1,000 people for the East Orange Animal Shelter) – virtually the same as New Hampshire. The spay and pray crowd loves to tout New Hampshire, which modeled their state subsidized spay/neuter program after New Jersey’s program. Yet, as you can see, New Jersey’s shelters still kill many animals and quite a few facilities are downright cruel.

  5. Apparently there is a group of reformers in this community:

    But if I understand their posts correctly, the NJSPCA seems to have investigative and enforcement power when there is a claim of possible animal cruelty. In the wake of the inspection report, it apparently investigated East Orange, and then claimed there was no cruelty at the shelter. So it seems nothing will change.

    An SPCA being an obstacle to shelter reform . . . imagine that.

    What a horrible system. Cruel, bureaucratic, broken. The obvious sits there in plain sight and nothing is done.

  6. Why do these people work at a place when they obviously don’t care what condition these poor animals have to endure? It’s the same old blame game everywhere – overworked, understaffed, lack of budgets, but how much money, time, or effort does it take to fill a water bowl? These are fundamental care issues! Unfortunately I see the same problems in healthcare. The thing is, those that care take the time to do!

    When is the public going to hold “shelters” to the same standards as Joe Blow on the street? And the public – when are people going to take responsibility for their pets breeding? Have your pets S/N people! There is NO excuse! Major reform to Animal shelters and basic Animal rights is definitely needed.

  7. We are facing some of the same issues, but wrapped in a slightly less offensive package. I have decided, with permission, to print off some of the articles from this blog (ie the ones with the “excuses” ac makes for why they can’t change) and get them to the advisory board and county commissioners. Can’t make them read the information, but I know at least some of them will. We can’t give up.

  8. If humans were forced to endure the atrocities they inflict the world would be a much kinder place. You deserve no rights when you enforce cruelty and suffering.

  9. Same story all around! Many working in Shelters ignore their responsibilities and the animals suffer needlessly! I contacted Governor Christy and he never bothered to respond! It seems that animals don’t matter and this outlook needs to change in our Country! I have also emailed President Obama and many positive changes were to be enforced! This never happened, you can find the reply and other emails from me in Message President and search Isabel Vanover! I need followers to make them do something!

  10. sounds like a re-run of the Guilford Co. NC issues – re ‘exporting’ dogs from the South – I knew the region was shipping lots of animals to the NE – but didn’t realize they were going into tax funded/county owned public Shelters – thought they were going to private ‘rescue’ organizations. Seems that it should be some sort of ‘fraud’ for the Tax Payers in any given County to have to support / pay for (overhead/salaries/upkeep etc.) dogs imported from out of state or even out of their own County!

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