On the heels of next weeks upcoming public meeting in which Township officials are expected to be questioned about the shelter’s maintenance and operations when the Hamilton Council holds a two-hour workshop meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, at the Nottingham Volunteer Fire Company, the Township administration has hired an independent consultant for an assessment of its shelter’s operations and is close to finalizing an agreement for a supervising shelter veterinarian.
Humane Pennsylvania – which according to its website is the region’s largest partnership of animal welfare organizations – will provide the Township with a private assessment of its shelter operations, focusing on key areas that officials hope to improve. After analyzing information and data on the facility, the organization will tour the shelter, discuss current practices with staff and work with stakeholders to determine priorities to address. Within two to four weeks of its site visit, Humane Pennsylvania will provide officials with a final assessment. The cost of the complete independent assessment is $5,000.
“We have made the decision to go above and beyond what needed to be addressed at our facility and, through the services of Humane Pennsylvania, welcome the organization’s independent assessment and recommendations so that we ensure our shelter meets the highest possible standards,” says Mayor Kelly Yaede.
These actions follow the town’s efforts to address all documented issues from a summer facility inspection, as well as additional, proactive measures that officials believe will improve operations. Those measures include electronic documentation of shelter pet records, new operational procedures, expanded volunteer opportunities and a move toward what is referred to as ‘no-kill’ practices – which included the suspension of euthanasia services for terminally ill pets that were brought to the facility by their owners in order to be humanely put to rest (this change was a direct result from the State inspection that questioned holding periods for shelter animals that are required by state law).
The animal shelter has become a political football after the New Jersey Department of Health conducted a raid-like inspection on the township’s animal shelter in July and released its inspection report in August. Among the most egregious violations cited was how the shelter failed to wait seven days before euthanizing numerous animals at the facility. Township officials say that transgression and other deficiencies have been corrected.
Soon after the raid, Dr. William J. Carter, former supervising veterinarian of the Hamilton Township Animal Shelter, resigned as the township’s emergency vet this summer, saying he was resigning due to the “misrepresentation of facts by the shelter’s leadership, along with the spin they have put on this situation.”
Hamilton officials are finalizing an agreement for a supervising shelter veterinarian, which could be completed within the next week. Once the agreement is finalized, the Township will formally announce the new veterinarian. Hamilton Township’s Animal Shelter has continued to use the services of a local animal hospital while finalizing a new supervising veterinarian and has also consulted with State officials during the process.