JERSEY CITY AND HOBOKEN -- People packed a conference room at City Hall Tuesday night for a meeting of the interim board of the Liberty Humane Society, which runs Jersey City's animal shelter and also has a contract to deal with stray animals in Hoboken.
At Tuesday's meeting, Diana Jeffrey, a former board president, who heads up the interim board consisting of two other board presidents, Bonnie Swazo and Laura Moss, said while dealing with various shelter issues, the current board is most concerned about was the shelter passing state inspections on Friday.
Some attendees were also very concerned with the shelter’s policy of putting animals to sleep.
Over 50 people were in attendance for this meeting, which gained importance for the recent problems surrounding the shelter, such as the previous five-member board of trustees resigning all at once. Also, the shelter's former executive director, Joanna Hopkinson - who was in attendance at Tuesday's meeting - was terminated from her post last month.
The state inspection was key, according to Jeffrey, because if the shelter is still violation, state officials can order the shut down of the shelter and remove the animals. There are no other major shelters in the area, and in fact, Liberty Humane itself had to take animals from another Jersey City shelter that shut down last year.
An inspector from the state's Department of Health and Human Services along with employees from the city's Health Department visited the Liberty Humane shelter on Aug. 4 and found violations such as dogs being kept in cages smaller than allowed, and sick animals caged in the same area as healthy animals.
Jeffrey said they are working in the next few days to isolate the sick animals and to get better cages into the facility. There are currently 80 dogs and 275 cats currently at the shelter, according to Niki Dawson, the former manager of the shelter who is helping the imterim board with the reorganization of the shelter. - RK