Newark Mayor Cory Booker says it is his birthday wish to stop heinous acts of animal cruelty in his city, like the one that happened to Patrick, the 1-year-old Pit bull who was found inside a trash bag nearly starved to death and thrown down a garbage chute.
He is using Patrick’s story as a catalyst to raise funds for a state-of-the-art animal shelter with innovative policies to improve responsible pet care.
Until the Mayor’s birthday on April 27, donations can be made on Facebook toward Patrick’s Place which will serve homeless animals in Newark and other surrounding towns. The goal is to raise $50,000.
Mayor Booker said, “Patrick’s story is one of countless instances of animal cruelty taking place daily around the world. It is a reminder that many animals suffer appalling abuse, and without our help, cases like this will end even more tragically. It is my hope that through spreading awareness and working together we can help save many of these defenseless animals from abuse and neglect.”
Mayor Booker reported that his administration has been working for the past two years to establish a modern animal shelter, but when Patrick’s case came into the forefront he knew the time was right to move ahead on the project.
Mayor Booker’s office was kind enough to provide the following details about the proposed animal shelter.
“The new shelter will bear no similarities to the existing shelter. The entire mission orientation will be focused on animal well-being, health and wellness, with the goal of finding new homes for every adoptable animal. The new shelter will be welcoming, sustainably designed and a community center for the City of Newark. State of the art design is proven to enhance the well-being of animals while in shelter care, and to promote successful long term adoptions into new homes.
Some key features include ventilation systems providing 100% fresh air, and natural light to every animal’s space. These innovations result in shelters that nearly eliminate common contagious diseases such as kennel cough and Upper Respiratory Infections, and promote good mental health – all of which contribute to a much higher percentage of adoptions.”
Homeless animals are currently located at the Associated Humane Societies shelter – the group that rescued Patrick. They have a contract with the City of Newark to provide certain animal control and sheltering functions.
In addition to housing homeless pets the new animal shelter will provide the community with several programs.
The Mayor’s office explained, “Programs such as low-cost spaying and neutering, feral cat trap-neuter-release (TNR), partnering with rescue organizations, utilizing volunteers and volunteer foster homes, comprehensive adoption programs including using the Internet, social media, and offsite adoption locations, pet retention programs to help people overcome the medical, behavioral, and environmental conditions which cause them to relinquish their animals, medical and behavioral programs, and more.”
The facility will be a multi-million dollar project that will be underwritten by both private and public funds. Mayor Booker’s birthday wish fund is a “kick-off” to generate awareness for the new shelter.
Not Everyone Is Happy With The Plan
Dr. Lisa Bongiovanni DVM who is one of the veterinarians with the Associated Humane Society of New Jersey (AHS) questioned the need for a new animal shelter. Dr. Bongiovanni was part of the initial rescue and treatment of Patrick.
In an open letter that is now posted on Patrick’s page on the AHS website, Dr. Bongiovanni said, “…I read with surprise your intention to establish a new animal shelter in Newark. Although not “state of the art” a shelter does exist in Newark. It is the Associated Humane Society and that shelter does in fact serve the municipalities of Essex and Hudson as well as other counties, and has been doing so for many years.”
“In the few years that I have been at the AHS I have seen many groups initiate and hopelessly fail in their efforts to form associations to help abused and neglected animals. And all the while the administration and staff of AHS have worked tirelessly and thanklessly in their efforts to serve this community.”
“Our efforts have been recently recognized by the Wiederhold Foundation who singled out AHS amongst many applicants by awarding us a substantial grant. With the monies endowed we will buy a mobile veterinary unit to assist us in a program that will go out in the community to offer spays and neuters at low cost (and if possible, even free of charge) with the hopes of decreasing the number of abandoned and abused animals in our City.” Click Here to read Dr. Bongiovanni’s entire letter.
The Associated Humane Societies of New Jersey is paying for the cost of Patrick’s veterinary care and rehabilitation.
Meanwhile Patrick continues to slowly recover. In the last few days he has started to bark. His former owner Kisha Curtis was charged with “torture and torment of a living creature” which is fourth-degree criminal charge and carries a sentence of 18 months in jail and/or a $3,000 fine.
Below is Mayor Booker’s birthday wish appeal.
Do you think money should go to build a new animal shelter that will could work jointly with AHS or should funding go to help the AHS existing shelter?
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Photo from: Associated Humane Societies of New Jersey