During the summer, the Liberty Humane Society asked residents and advocates for help after facing an overcrowing of pets in the shelter. With success, LHS was able to find homes for these dogs through either fostering or adopting. Now, months later, Liberty Humane Society is faced with a difficult situation again. The City of Jersey City has terminated its long-standing agreement with LHS. Read on to learn more about what this means for Liberty Humane Society and how to help the organization.
What We Know
On the evening of October 16th, LHS’s Executive Director Irene Borngraeber and the Board of Directors alerted the Jersey City community of the news through its Instagram page. The online post started with the following statement, “On October 2nd, 2023, the City of Jersey City informed Liberty Humane Society (LHS) that they would be ending our contractual agreement to provide animal control services, effective October 31st, 2023.” With the end of this agreement, LHS will no longer be able to fund its sheltering program and the upkeeping of the shelter. Also, the shelter shared that, “The termination of these agreements also invalidates the LHS lease for 235 Jersey City Boulevard.”
LHS has operated at this location, across from Liberty Science Center, since 2004. Now, the City of Jersey City will take away the rights of LHS’s ability to provide aid for these animals which was made through sheltering and animal control. The 235 Jersey City Boulevard facility will now be operated by the City starting on December 31st, 2023. At this time, it’s unclear what will happen between October 31st (when the agreement effectively ends) and December 31st (when the shelter closes), but The Hoboken Girl reached out to the City of Jersey City for clarification.
The services that the shelter has provided will now be overseen by the city itself. LHS’s sheltering and animal control services will end on that same day. As for the animals that are being sheltered, those that are off of stray hold will be moved to an off-site foster care. There will be no animals left behind at the shelter.
The City’s Response
In a statement to The Hoboken Girl, Kim Wallace-Scalcione, Press Secretary at the Office of the Mayor, shared a statement on behalf of the City of Jersey City: “In response to Liberty Humane Society’s continued deficiencies in meeting contractual obligations to provide adequate animal control services, coupled with the increasing amount of public complaints and LHS’s unresponsiveness and disregard for the City’s and the public’s concerns, Mayor Fulop has moved to absorb animal control services in-house under our Department of Health & Human Services to ensure humane treatment for all animals and adequate enforcement of animal control laws to support public health and safety.”
The statement continued, “The people and animals of Jersey City need and deserve responsive and reliable services, and the City will ensure that these are in place. Our Health Department and DPW have already been performing some vital services to fill gaps. Attached is a letter sent in August to the then-head of the Liberty Humane Society.”
The statement also added that the City is “actively working to ensure that we will have shelter services in place. We are committed to working with LHS for a smooth transition, and we will be ready on January 1st.”
What’s Next + How to Help
LHS has made it known that in terms of the next steps, it is considering opening a new facility. The vision for this new facility will work to provide affordable low-cost animal health services for the community. The shelter also looks forward to relaunching its spay/neuter and wellness services for pet owners in 2024.
As LHS begins the vacating process, it has called for help from residents once again. There are currently over 150 animals that are in need of homes, fosters, adopters, rescue transfers, or barn placement, and the shelter anticipates receiving more animals until it closes at the end of the year. To make sure these animals find their forever homes, LHS will be waiving the fees for all large dogs (over 40 pounds) and adult cats starting on Saturday, October 21st through Saturday, October 28th.
Prospective adopters can view the animals in need through LHS’s website here. The process will start off with residents submitting an application and then scheduling an appointment. The facility is currently focusing on getting these pets adopted. However, in the near future, other opportunities to help like foster home placement to equipment transport and storage will be needed. To be updated when the time comes for these opportunities, LHS asked supporters to subscribe to its email newsletter here. Rescue groups and other local facilities are welcome to help by contacting the shelter through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.