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For the first time in thirty years, Jersey City has a truly humane animal shelter!

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Posted by Jay Stevens--The Urban Times News on December 11, 2003 at 16:45:35:

The Urban Times News

It has been a very productive week for villains, Boris and Natasha not withstanding. “Dis time ve get Moose and Squirrel for sure.” Local 12 Villains Thieves and Scoundrels Union. That would be the Hudson County Chapter. The membership list keeps growing and they are now admitting rats for the first time. There are so many it is difficult to know where to begin and which one to choose. So we thought that maybe we would do something along the lines of some “feelgood” news, just for a change. You probably thought we were going to say something else, didn’t you? Well you cannot lose them all and if you look around hard enough, you will find some good things happening here in Hudson County.

"This all changed for the better when Cunningham took over. For the first time in thirty years, Jersey City has a truly humane animal shelter, a place where stray animals can take refuge from the streets, and are cared for until they can find permanent homes."

That would be Diana Jeffery speaking about the Jersey City Animal Shelter. She is an attorney who heads up the Liberty Human Society. That’s an umbrella group of humane societies who banded together under that name to help animals. Apparently, unwanted animals are a bigger problem here in Hudson County than you might have imagined.

Understandably, she is very proud of what the group has been able to help accomplish and even boasts of the high success rate working through the Jersey City Animal Shelter, opposite the Liberty Science Center. She rattles off statistics: Adoption rate or return to the owner at 72%. That’s compared to the statewide rate of 45 to 48% and the national rate of 25%. You go, girl. The euthanasia-that is how many of the animals are put to sleep, not the number of adolescents in the Peoples’ Republic—is comparably low at 27%. All that with an annual turnover of about 750 critters a year.

Here is an interesting statistic that Jefferey will tell you: 45% of the dogs brought to the shelter are pit bulls. These are four-legged antipersonnel devices confiscated by police in drug raids. According to Jefferey, these nasty little customers are bred to be vicious and hostile and are used in dog-fighting and sometimes as security for crackhouses and drug dealers. Dog-fighting is, of course, highly illegal, but hey, if you are going to retail crack out of your living room, what the heck.

Unlike the competition, and yes, Virginia, there is a competing animal shelter, the lady attorney will tell you that all the animals are vaccinated, dewormed, groomed, and here’s the big one, spayed or neutered before adoption. The person adopting the pet has to pay for this, but Liberty Humane Society will help with the cost if money is tight. Vaccines for the animals’ shots are provided by the city with an assist from LHS. And of course Jefferey says, all the animals are well treated while they are in the shelter.


This is a big one. This is the reason there are so many unwanted animals around and the shelter neuters every animal that comes through. They try to make it easy and affordable. Once a month, a transport van from People for Animals low-cost spay/neuter clinic visits the shelter to take cats belonging to Jersey City residents to their clinic for spay/neuter & vaccines. About 25 cats are sterilized each month. Cost is $40 for male cats and $45 for female cats; LHS helps subsidize the cost for Seniors and those of limited income.

Foster & Transport Outreach

Now, this is impressive to us. When the shelter becomes crowded, the manager works with a network of 40 shelters & animal welfare organizations, who accept animals from the shelter. This helps avoid euthanizing friendly, healthy animals. The shelter also has about 15 "foster homes," which care for pets temporarily until space becomes available. Foster homes are available for unwanted pets until permanent adoption can be arranged.

Adoption Outreach

The LHS, in conjunction with the shelter takes animals to satellite locations to promote adoptions. A dog and kitty show, to coin a phrase. We could not resist the pun. The Shelter does this at least 3 times a month. Participating locations are: Animal Pantry (Hoboken), Pet Depot (Weehawken), Weichert Realtors (Hoboken), Petco (Paramus). Another program, called Operation Take Me Home, involves volunteers who take dogs into Jersey City parks for walks. The dogs wear "Adopt Me" vests, and the volunteer hands out flyers about the dog in the hope of getting them a new home.

Humane Education

The shelter also sponsors class trips to the shelter for Jersey City schoolchildren and other youth groups. The Shelter Manager also takes animals to local schools to teach them about the humane care and treatment of animals, and promote compassion and kindness.

Another Program the Shelter Manager is working on is providing dog and cat food to Seniors and other low-income residents who own pets. We find that often low-income people (especially Seniors) will go without eating themselves in order to be able to feed their pets. This program will ask the public to donate food for this purpose; the shelter will work with a social service agency to distribute the pet food to the needy.

In case you want to know even more you can see their website at OR the Animal Shelter’s website at The Shelter's Hours are every day, 11am-5pm. And it is open late on Tuesdays & Thursdays until 8:00 pm. Jefferey added that volunteer orientations are held every first Sunday of the month, 2:00 pm, at the shelter, in case you feel like getting involved.

We know it is out of character for us to be “nice.” But look here—we have the usual nonsense coming out of our editorial ears at all times and the holidays are here. We are not particularly animal freaks ourselves but we respond when we see others giving of themselves to do some good things without a thought of their own gain. Around here it is truly a breath of fresh air and we say “Bully. Good for you.” And being Holiday time, who knows, dear readers, but you might want to run down there and get some furry little critter to bring home if not for yourself then maybe your kids.

And, if you don’t want to do that, then you might want to help The Animal Shelter or the LHS. A birdie—there’s that animal motif again—told us that the group has a holiday wish list, so you could help out that way. They need, and in no particular order, of all things, Ultra Clorox Bleach, laundry detergent, paper towels, dishwashing liquid, rawhide bones and chewtoys for the doggies, and of course any canned puppy and canned kitten food you happen to have. If you don’t have any go get some and bring it over and drop it off. That is your good deed and you can go back to your misanthropic ways for another twelve months.

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