Animal-control van stolen during call in Bayonne

Liberty Humane Society confirms no animals missing but equipment is gone

No good deed goes unpunished.

While helping a family reunite with their lost cat, an animal control van was stolen from the responding animal control officer in Bayonne.

The van belonging to the Liberty Humane Society (LHS) was stolen during an animal control call on West 48th Street in Bayonne, according to LHS.

The Liberty Humane Society is a nonprofit organization operating out of headquarters at 235 Jersey City Blvd.,  Jersey City. According to LHS, its mission is to foster a community of compassion and respect, and provide animals in need with a chance for a lifelong, loving home.

Kim Saunders, Director of Operations at LHS, confirmed the vehicle theft in a Jan. 14 interview with the Bayonne Community News. Having worked in animal welfare for more than 20 years, Saunders was saddened to hear that the van was stolen while the officer was trying to help others.

The vehicle heist took place at on West 48th Street at approximately 8 p.m. According to LHS, the employee was inside attending to an animal control call when the van was stolen.

“Our animal control officer was out on calls,” Saunders said. “He stepped inside for a moment; then the van was stolen.”

The driver of the vehicle, an LHS animal control officer, left the car running with the keys in the ignition.

Saunders recalled the officer was inside responding to an animal control call. A cat belonging to the family living on West 48th Street had escaped during a recent fire at the family residence. However, the family reported suspicious noises and a sighting of the cat that prompted the call to LHS.

“The officer was attempting to reunite a family with their cat that escaped from the house during a house fire,” Saunders said. “The officer was there to set up a plan with the family to potentially catch the cat after a recent sighting.”

No animals harmed

Despite the vehicle robbery, Saunders confirmed that there were no animals missing or injured during the incident. However, the theft did not come at no cost.

“There were no animals in the van at the time, but it was full of the equipment we use to provide animal control services.” Saunders said.

Saunders said that LHS has not yet calculated the total dollar amount of the equipment stolen. She listed the numerous tools that the LHS’s animal control services would now have to operate without.

“The equipment in the van was standard animal control equipment,” Saunders said. “That includes carriers, gloves, animal control pulls, nets, and a microchip scanner.”

The bigger loss is the van. Saunders described the missing van as a 2016 Ford Transit Connect. The white van is emblazoned with the LHS’s branding and information, including its logo and phone number.

“We are deeply disappointed that someone would steal from a humane society whose officer was out serving the community trying to help a resident with their pet,” Saunders said.

LHS offers a variety of services aimed at providing a “stronger, safer community for animals in need.” These services include prevention and education, animal care, medical care, animal control and advocacy, and humane education.

LHS provides spaying and neutering services, low-cost medical care, shelter for homeless or unwanted animals, and safe and effective animal control services. LHS developed the Community Outreach Program to educate the community about topics such as the benefits of adoption, community cats, and the techniques employed to care for the animals at their shelter.

Anyone with information regarding the stolen van is encouraged to call the Bayonne Police Department’s detective bureau at 201-858-6925 or contact the department’s anonymous tip line at 877-900-8477 or via text at 274-637 using the keywords TIP BPD.

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