Recent News on HHAS
Jan 2, 2019 —
More Troubling Concerns Surrounding The Animal Shelter In Hunterdon County
Dear petitioners, we are over 3,000 strong in our demand for transparency and openness from the Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter (HHAS) board. This quest led to a discovery that references to the Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter are disappearing and they are magically being replaced by the Hunterdon County SPCA. Don’t be fooled. The county freeholders, the Hunterdon County Vocational School District, the board of Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter, and the board of the Hunterdon County SPCA owe us, the taxpayers and those who donated millions over the years to HHAS, an explanation of what’s going on. Please read this entire update since it exposes so many open questions for Hunterdon county.
According to the countyoffice.org link, the Hunterdon County SPCA is now listed as an animal shelter that resides at 576 Stamets Road in Milford (Alexandria). Here is the link to this information which was updated in 2018: https://www.countyoffice.org/hunterdon-county-spca-milford-nj-1c7/
This is a big red flag! The boards of the Hunterdon County SPCA and Hunterdon Humane Animal shelter must answer these questions immediately:
· Does the Hunterdon County SPCA that’s listed in countyoffice.org have the EIN 22-6073973? If the answer is ‘yes’, then that organization had its charter revoked by the NJSPCA in 2014: https://www.lehighvalleylive.com/hunterdon-county/express-times/index.ssf/2014/01/new_jersey_spca_revokes_charte.html The revocation was upheld by Judge Coleman on July 30, 2015: https://www.nj.com/hunterdon/index.ssf/2015/07/hunterdon_county_spca_must_hand_over_assets_charte.html If this is the same organization, then according to the NJ animal cruelty bill (S3558) that was enacted on Jan. 15, 2018, Hunterdon County did not have a chartered SPCA on the day prior to the date of enactment of the bill. The answer to this question has important implications for Hunterdon County. The public is entitled to see 990 forms, view the mission statement, and know who is on the board of this H. C. SPCA.
· If this SPCA has a different EIN, then the community should be shown the letter of determination from the IRS or a recent 990 form with the EIN number. Who are the board members of this SPCA?
· What is the status of the Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter and its $6 million in assets that the generous donors of this community gave for the care of homeless animals? Were the assets transferred to the Hunterdon County SPCA or do they still remain under the control of the Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter board? The property at 576 Stamets Road in Alexandria is still owned by the Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter according to an on-line query.
We also discovered that the Hunterdon County Votech School District is planning a partnership with the SPCA in Alexandria (Milford). Here is a direct quote from the announcement that was made on the Hunterdon County Polytech website: The Veterinary Assistant Program ….’has also begun forging a partnership with the SPCA in Alexandria and will lead to expanded hands-on learning experiences through both in-class and internship experiences. This is a mutually beneficial partnership, because our students will practice administering medicine and providing basic care for the animals, said Tanya Nalesnik, Assistant Business Administrator for HCVSD and President of the Hunterdon Humane Society.’ Here is the complete text of that announcement: https://www.hcpolytech.org/apps/news/show_news.jsp?REC_ID=534449&id=0
A concerned group of citizens attended the H. C. Votech School District Board of Education meeting on Dec. 19, 2018 for an explanation of this partnership. None of the Board of Education members, the Superintendent, and the Business Administrator knew anything about the Votech and SPCA partnership. Yet, the assistant business administrator for HCVSD and the Adult Education Coordinator were confident in publishing this announcement on the Polytech website. This is another red flag for our county! We requested that the H.C. Votech Board answer the following questions by Jan. 11, 2019. If there is no response, then the proper state oversight departments will be asked to investigate these issues:
· We asked the Board of Ed to produce the minutes that document approval of this partnership.
· We asked why the Veterinary Assistance Program isn’t utilizing the Votech Animal Science space located at 37 Hoffmans Crossing Rd in Califon? The Votech Board Of Ed approved on Aug. 27, 2018 to reimburse the H.C. Educational Services Commission for alterations in the amount of up to $800,000. These alterations are required to meet the educational needs of the Animal Science program. Why are the taxpayers being asked to support a location in Alexandria when we already are dishing up to $800,000 for an existing Animal Science space in Califon? https://www.hcvsd.org/pdf/board_of_ed/agendas_minutes//2018-2019/Minutes/02%20August%202018.pdf
· We asked if the SPCA partnership involves taxpayer money, grant money or any other funds flowing from the H.C. Votech school district to the SPCA in Alexandria or to any other organization that claims to own or reside at 576 Stamets Rd. in Alexandria? If the answer is ‘yes’, how much will it cost taxpayers and over what time interval?
· We demand to see the curriculum of this program. Will there be any invasive techniques done on shelter animals? Will students be giving vaccinations, administering medicine and performing lab procedures on shelter animals? Will a veterinarian be present to assure that the right protocol is being done for specific animals? This should be a concern for the shelter supervising veterinarian since they could be held responsible for any harm that comes to a shelter animal. Be assured, the community will be watching.
· We asked the board to clarify if the Veterinary Assistance Program is planning on holding classes at 576 Stamets Rd in Alexandria. If the answer is ‘yes’, then we need to know how the SPCA can negotiate a partnership when it doesn’t own the property and that property does not have a land use that allows class room instruction? This should be a concern for any student who is spending the $1,250 on tuition for this course.
· Where will the animals come from?
We look forward to seeing our concerns written up in the Dec.19 minutes since Roberts Rules indicate that the minutes are supposed to be a true transcript of what occurs at the meetings.
Finally, we call on the H. C. freeholders to be transparent with all of the concerns in this update. Freeholder Matthew Holt and Suzanne Lagay have assignments as members of the Hunterdon County Vocational School (Polytech), Board of School Estimate and Freeholder John King is the liaison to Hunterdon County Vocational School (Polytech). These freeholders are in a position to get answers and share them with the community regarding Votech’s partnership with the SPCA in Alexandria. We will be sending an email documenting all of the questions and concerns in this update to all the freeholders. We hope they will acknowledge receipt of this email and respond with a plan of action to address our concerns. Either way, we will let you know if we get a response or not .
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