Although the sign depicting the future location of the Bayonne animal shelter has long faded, city officials say the location is still open for use as a shelter. Snowy winters and summer’s blistering heat waves have made the sign illegible, and some members of the animal rescue committee have questioned the delay.
More than four years have passed since the city announced plans to move ahead with the its first animal shelter, to be located on land owned by the Bayonne Municipalities Authority on Fifth Street near the city’s wind turbine.
The site, which also located near the Atlas boat club and Port Johnson, was originally proposed to house both the animal shelter and a vehicle maintenance facility for the Board of Education.
Ownership of the site, located at East Fifth and Oak Streets, was supposed to have been transferred to the Hudson County Animal League, which was to pay the cost of construction and maintenance on the shelter.
Since then, a new site for school vehicle maintenance was obtained near Avenue A, but the question of the fate of the animal shelter remained, especially after conflicting claims among some members of the Hudson County Animal League two years ago when the city thought the site was no longer wanted for the shelter.
“[City Business Administrator Steve] Gallo said the last president of the league told him that they were no longer interested in the property and wanted to buy a building on Avenue A to use as a shelter,” said Adelaide Laurie, former president of Hudson County Animal League. “Then the league had a leadership change and they wanted to use the original site. The latest word the city has received is that they are looking to buy another property.”
“The initial agreement was that the Hudson County Animal League would raise the funds to build the shelter and the city would provide the land exclusively for this purpose.” – Steve Gallo
City willing to partner with HCAL
In response to a photo caption printed in the Bayonne Community News on Oct. 17, Bayonne Business Administrator Steve Gallo commented that city officials continue to make the property available for use as a shelter.
“The initial agreement was that the Hudson County Animal League would raise the funds to build the shelter and the city would provide the land exclusively for this purpose,” said Gallo. “While the land remains available, the HCAL has not moved forward with their plans. We remain committed to working with them but they have gone through some leadership changes and have not been clear regarding their intentions.”
Gallo said the league would have to provide evidence that they had the funds in place to actually build the shelter before the city would provide the land for the project – something the league has never done. The land would be restricted by deed for use as an animal shelter and any deviation would require that ownership revert back to the city. “We simply haven’t seen any evidence that they have the funding needed to complete this project. When they are ready to go, we’d be happy to talk with them.”
In a statement issued by the Hudson County Animal League, an all-volunteer group dedicated to the rescue and care of abandoned animals, the group said it is proud to be partnering with Mayor Mark Smith and the City of Bayonne on its TNR Pilot Program, as well as working together to find a shared vision for a future animal shelter.
Founded in 1993, HCAL is getting ready to celebrate 20 years of rescuing homeless animals and placing them in loving “forever homes.” With continued support from the public, HCAL will carry on its work of ensuring that homeless animals are vetted and cared for until they find the animals homes of their own. They are continually accepting donations and offers from volunteers as well, and hold many fundraising efforts throughout the year.