Trenton Animal Shelter loses service after council votes against renewing contract

The Trenton animal shelter is currently unstaffed, leaving more than a dozen animals without access to a veterinarian, after the city council voted against renewing its supplier’s contract.

City council members voted 4-3 against renewing Trenton Animals Rock’s contract on Thursday. The nonprofit had been operating the shelter under an emergency extension since January, when a previous budget dispute erupted. The extension expired on March 31.

A locksmith came to the shelter on Friday and changed the locks, preventing staff from accessing the remaining 13 dogs and six cats in the shelter, Trenton Animals Rock executive director Danielle Gletow said.

She said the majority of animals were removed from the shelter yesterday, before the locks were officially changed. “We pulled out any dogs that needed medication or just special handling because we just didn’t trust them,” she said.

She also said the mayor’s office told shelter workers that someone would come and feed the remaining animals twice on Saturday. Other animal welfare professionals have been hired by Trenton Animals Rock, she said, resulting in the loss of some services.

Tim Carroll, a city spokesman, said the city is providing staff to continue services.

“Because of Council’s decision to vote against funding the shelter, the city is losing the expertise of a veterinarian, veterinary technicians, dog crate cleaners and professionals who provide important services to residents,” said he said in a statement provided to NJ Advance Media. “Another example of Council inaction having real consequences.”

Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson, who voted to renew the contract, said she was upset with the result of council’s vote.

“This is not a good situation and all because (four) of my colleagues decided that the animals were disposable (and) they chose not to approve the contract,” she said in a statement. .

The other six board members did not respond to a request for comment.

Gletow said she was frustrated with the current situation because funding for the shelter had already been budgeted and the change comes after the council voted against renewal. She said she was also concerned about the urgency of changing the locks and the lack of a transition plan.

“I don’t understand and we weren’t given a reason,” Gletow said. “I can’t imagine anyone in the city of Trenton feeling confident in a group that votes no to something and doesn’t have a transition plan.

Before Trenton Animals Rock began its public-private partnership with the city in 2018, the shelter had a 47% death rate for dogs, animal care was minimal, and the space was not clean. Gletow said.

“Our main concern right now is not going back,” she said. “We’ve made so much progress forward.”

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Brianna Kudisch can be contacted at [email protected].

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