South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter Reform

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Cumberland County and surrounding residents: Major changes are needed at the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter. I will be presenting this at the local and state level. Every signature helps. Please read below. The major reasonings that I have presented are large contributing factors of the shelters high-kill rate. This must end. No doubt we need SJRAS Shelter, but another shelter/ building may be needed to serve our municipalities to help relieve the overpopulation at one shelter. This is without a doubt a major contribution to the overpopulation of the shelter (and euthanization) An expansion on the shelter was offered to advocate for, however we were told an expansion on the shelter is not possible. The shelter cannot expand because of the septic system. This shelter is always at maximum capacity. It was posted that incoming cats were left in cat carriers waiting for room to be made so the cats could be removed from the cat carriers, to have space available for them at the shelter. There are also concerns of animals being medically neglected by not receiving emergency treatment. These animals are normally marketed to rescues so they have it medically treated. If a rescue does not step up the animal suffers and is eventually euthanized. Overpopulation due to shelter size, contracting out to municipalities, and poor management all play a major role in the high-kill rate of the South Regional Animal Shelter.


To whom it may concern,
I will be presenting evidence to show, that South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter, formerly known as Cumberland County Animal Shelter, has failed the animals and the members of the community. I will be addressing several issues that the community of Cumberland County would like to see addressed. The concerns that I will be presenting contribute to the overpopulation of the shelter, and the high euthanization rate. This needs to end.
The Statistics:
As you can see below, I used the NJ Animal Observers statistics. SJRAS number of households as a percentage of New Jersey’s households to compute the number of available homes in the county. Based on the average percentage (35%) the three benchmark animal shelters above make-up of the cat adoption market, SJRAS SPCA could adopt out 1,306 cats or nearly two and a half times more than the 547 cats the shelter adopted out in 2017. In other words, the shelter could attain a no kill level cat live release rate of 92% (i.e. a proxy for no kill status) and even rescue a little more than 100 additional cats from other facilities if it simply replicated the average cat adoption market share of these three role model shelters. While SJRAS Shelter does take in more cats than the average shelter in the state, this analysis shows more than enough homes exist for its cats.

The same analysis for Cumberland County yields a similar result. As you can see below, I used Cumberland County’s number of households as a percentage of New Jersey’s households to compute the number of available homes in the county. Based on the average percentage (35%) the three benchmark animal shelters above make-up of the cat adoption market, Cumberland County SPCA could adopt out 1,306 cats or nearly two and a half times more than the 547 cats the shelter adopted out in 2017. In other words, the shelter could attain a no kill level cat live release rate of 92% (i.e. a proxy for no kill status) and even rescue a little more than 100 additional cats from other facilities if it simply replicated the average cat adoption market share of these three role model shelters. While SJRAS does take in more cats than the average shelter in the state, this analysis shows more than enough homes exist for its cats. New Jersey shelters have even more homes available for their dogs than cats. Based on the average dog market share of the three benchmark shelters (23%), New Jersey animal shelters could adopt out 47,430 more dogs than they do now. Since the state’s animal shelters needlessly killed 2,168 dogs in 2016, they’d just have to reach 5% of the 47,430 additional dog adoptions to ensure every New Jersey animal shelter had at least a 95% dog live release rate. Furthermore, data from the 2017-2018 American Pets Products Survey indicates New Jersey animal shelters could adopt out 36,156 medium and large size dogs. In fact, this exceeds the 33,463 dogs the state shelters impounded in 2016.

While SJRAS SPCA impounds more cats than most New Jersey communities, the same trend holds for this shelter. Specifically, SJRAS SPCA could adopt out 712 more cats while it needlessly killed 549 cats (630 cats if we assume the 81 cats classified as “Other” outcomes died). Interestingly, rescues and other shelters pulled over 150 more cats than the model targets for SJRAS SPCA. Thus, SJRAS SPCA received more than enough rescue assistance. Frequently, I regressive shelters complain about too many animals and not enough homes while these organizations make it difficult for people to adopt. This shelter creates an adversarial relationship with potential adopters by requiring various documents and other hurdles to “prove” their worthiness to adopt which I personally have had to endeavor. Some examples are as follows:
1) Denying adoptions when an existing pet is not spayed/neutered even when the shelter/rescue will alter the adopted pet.
2) Cause people to provide “the right answers” and not share other information
3) Reduce the number of good pet owners who can adopt
4) Extend the time animals stay with shelters and rescues that ultimately lead to increased killing for space, more stress and behavioral deterioration (then labeled aggressive) in shelter animals and higher disease rates in shelter animals
5) Dog meets judged by employees whom are not certified in animal behavior thus an applicant is turned down
6) Unnecessary wait times for adoption application/rescue approval


Not only does this affect the community from adopting, but there have been large complaints made by the public regarding management staffing. Visitors and volunteers in the shelter claim to feel unwelcomed and are talked down to. This simply should not happen. Many maintain that the shelter employees are “cliquey”. It is also a concern that employees are picking and choosing based on personal feelings as to whether a potential adopter may adopt. Visitors and others also have complaints about the poor heating and air in the kennel room leading to extreme temperatures in the summer and very cold in the winter. The small things add up; too many last-minute things such as: not advertising reduced adoption weekend (only open Saturday) poor marketing strategies in general. Every animal adoption that is turned down creates less space for another animal, thus an animal gets euthanized (timestamped). The adoption process is a long daunting task overseen by employees who claim to be experts in the area.

Something needs to be done. The shelter is always at maximum capacity, and the shelter is overseen by unqualified and unwelcoming staff. Cats and dogs are being euthanized at an alarming rate (second highest in the state). Poor adoption protocols, and poor staffing play a large role in the euthanization of animals at this shelter. I am also suggesting that Southern Regional Animal Shelters contracting out to other municipalities plays a large role in the overcrowding. We would encourage Salem County to build their own shelter for their own counties stray & unwanted cats & dogs. We want change.
Sincerely,
Upset and angry residents.

 


References:

https://njanimalobserver.wordpress.com/category/cumberland-county-spca/