Petition update

Just Facts, No Fake News

Hunterdon County Animal Shelter Committee

Sep 3, 2018 — 

Our online petition and hard copies have gathered well over 2,800 signatures! Your amazing support is giving voice to the animals and showing our county and municipal officials how important this issue is to our citizens. Our grass roots movement insists on a shelter that provides a state-of-the-art safe, clean, loving and caring shelter that abides strictly to the laws of New Jersey. We insist on a shelter that is welcoming to the public and one that everyone in our county can be proud of. 

In our last update, we brought attention to the fact that from Aug. 2014 to March 2016, there were significant periods of time when the shelter wasn’t operating under a supervising vet. This is in violation of the NJ state law NJAC: 8:23 A-1.9(a). This came to light in the Hunterdon Division of Public Health Services inspection report of HHAS on 1/16/15. It was also reported in the articles ‘Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter is again without supervising veterinarian’ by Lillian Shupe dated Oct. 8, 2015 for NJ.com, ‘Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter still searching for supervising veterinarian ‘ by Lillian Shupe dated Feb. 1, 2016 for NJ.com, and ‘Embattled Hunterdon animal shelter to close temporarily’ by Lillian Shupe dated May 23, 2016 NJ.com. 

There were other serious violations found at the county and state levels. The Hunterdon County Health inspector found violations on Aug. 9, 2013 according to the article ‘Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter was put on notice by county for violations prior to SPCA search, officials say’ by Matthew Bultman dated Aug. 27, 2013 for the Express Times. During the Aug. 9, 2013 inspection, county officials put HHAS on notice after discovering that healthy and sick cats were housed together. The inspection was in response to an anonymous complaint. According to another article ‘Animal cruelty charges pending against Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter after animals found in deplorable conditions, authorities say’ by Matthew Bultman on Aug. 23, 2013 for the Express Times, members of the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s office and NJSPCA executed search warrants on the shelter and a veterinarian hospital. Seventeen cats in need of emergency care were removed from the shelter and transported to an area animal hospital. Four cats were later euthanized because of their poor condition.

After the removal of the seventeen cats from the shelter, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services issued an inspection report of HHAS on October 23, 2013. The inspection report noted HHAS housed sick and healthy cats together (page 5), failed to provide prompt  basic vet care to 4 kittens with severe diarrhea that was caked to their fur on their rectum, tail, legs and hips (page 4, 5), there were cats in the kitten room that had crusty eye discharge and some were unable to fully open their eyes (page 5), illegally killed animals before the 7 day hold period elapsed (page 5, 7), and intracardiac injection  (aka heart sticking) was said to be the routine route of injection for euthanasia solution at the shelter. A stethoscope is required to asses each animal for the absence of a heartbeat. The stethoscope was unable to be located at the time of this inspection. (page 6). The heart stick method of euthanasia uses a needle and syringe containing pentobarbital and is pounded through the chest wall and severs layers of muscle into the animal’s heart. According to the State of NJ Animal Facility Operation, Section 8:23A-1.11 Euthanasia:  The state of NJ primarily recommends euthanasia be administered by intravenous injection of a barbiturate. The state goes on to recommend that the intracardiac injection may be made where intravenous injection is impractical, as in the very small animal, or in the comatose animal with depressed vascular function. The state of New Jersey strongly recommends that euthanasia on cats and dogs be administered by intravenous injections of a barbiturate and strongly discourages heart stick euthanasia.

Only some of the report’s findings have been listed here. The following link to the entire State Of New Jersey HHAS inspection report on 10/23/13 follows. You can copy and paste this link into your browser’s search box:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8RQfFWRnvxkTE9wTHp2bDc0bUU/view

Of the many important public issues that face us today as a society, one that never fails to generate intense public interest is the humane treatment of animals. The people of Hunterdon County donated millions of dollars to HHAS to care for homeless and unwanted animals in our county. It’s time for accountability and transparency from the HHAS board starting with a face to face meeting with members of the community. We hope the county officials are paying attention to our concerns.


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