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Letter to Lacey Twp. Residents

An Open Letter to the Residents of Lacey Township Regarding New Animal Control Arrangements

On behalf of Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park, I would like to thank the residents of Lacey Township for their caring, concern and generosity in helping us help unwanted animals. It has been a strong 35-year relationship in providing you with animal care and control and taking it to a new level, not seen elsewhere in New Jersey.

Lacey Township residents have been there for us and rely on Popcorn Park for animal care issues, collecting strays, caring for injured and orphaned wildlife and having assurances that the animals in our custody receive the best in veterinary care, food, shelter and warmth, as well as the reassurance that waiting for a new home can be as pleasant as possible.

The Lacey Township Committee has decided to sever the relationship with AHS/Popcorn Park due to “economic reasons”. As a non-profit, charitable organization, we are very familiar with the crucial need to keep finances tight.

A pest control company will pick up stray dogs and cats, probably not surrendered animals, nor will it provide veterinary services to those that are ill or injured. Those services are expected to be provided additionally by the township, so there would be an additional expense that will be billed to the town. Popcorn Park does not charge for the sick or injured animals that come to us and is on call, if necessary, ready to handle emergencies.

No nearby animal shelters have as many kennels and spaces available for animals as Popcorn Park. These smaller shelters work hard to find homes for each and every animal that comes through their doors. However, they may sometimes have to euthanize strays soon after the state-required seven-day waiting period has ended in order to make room for new animals brought to their facilities.

A local news article stated the Township Committee would award a contract to a pest control agency at a savings of $8,000 to $9,000. But that probably doesn’t take into account the additional costs, which would include veterinary expense and additional costs for "extra" stray dogs and cats once the town reaches the level that some kennels will accept.

According to the Township Administrator "it is all about dollars and cents". No -- it's about dogs and cats and the need to give them a loving, decent life and the rescue and respect of wildlife. It's abut our staff helping an elderly man who is hospitalized and needs someone to go and check on his animals; it's about our staff rushing to the residence of a woman who could not get home to take care of her diabetic dog when a fire on the Garden State Parkway delayed her arrival; it's about a woman who discovers a nest of newborn baby squirrels under the hood of a car; we removed them and they are now being cared for; it's about taking in two dogs from the victim of domestic violence who needed to find a place for them before her husband was released from jail (and we still have them). It's about 2 young boys finding a dog in the middle of Lacey Road. They put a belt on the dog & walked about 2 miles to Popcorn Park where we took the elderly dog in and "Buddy" is resting comfortably with us. We have lots more heart wrenching stories -- but all with happy endings -- thanks to your efforts and compassion.

Therefore – with smaller kennel space available – will Lacey Township strays be given less time to wait for a new home? Will injured or sick dogs or pregnant cats receive the veterinary care they need?

When there is a tightening of the financial belt, it will always be the animals that suffer.

Barbara Lathrop, Board Member, Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park Board of Directors


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