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Woodbridge Animal Shelter Sustains Major Damage

Are the animals and their caregivers safe?

As an lifelong animal owner and lover, the safety and comfort of the pets (be they canine, feline, bird, fish, reptile or something else) that bring a unique love and happiness to our lives, has always been of concern. 

About three years ago, I discovered the dog park in Sewaren, NJ was not in compliance with State regulations, in regarding to ground cover, drainage, and sanitation conditions.  After trying to get the Administration of the Mayor of Woodbridge Township, John McCormac, to correct the offending conditions, it became necessary to enlist the aid of the NJ DEP.  As a result of the DEP intervention, it was learned the park was built on its current site in violation of state environmental regulation.  The DEP also mandated corrective actions to  protect this wetlands area.

After over two years of political stalling and maneuvering by the McCormac Administration, little has actually changed at the dog park.  Yes, the township has spent lots of money for consultants to work with the township engineers and NJ DEP personnel. And, yes, the current administration continues to say they are getting ever closer to bringing the park into compliance with state regulation. But how close and just how soon the corrections will be made remains unknown. 

Certainly, Hurricane Sandy has not helped the situation, or maybe it has.  At least the State and Federal environmental agencies are in Sewaren to clean-up the fuel spill in the Arthur Kill waterway.  It would be wonderful if the township could avail itself of the talents and monies that come from those agencies to fix the dog park, along with all the other work that must be done in the area.

Sadly, the story of animal care in Woodbridge Township only worsened with Hurricane Sandy!

The Woodbridge Animal Shelter & Pet Adoption Center, arguably a much needed, but poorly located facility (its site is an old pumping station in a flood prone zone), has suffered major damage from the flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy!

The damage is so bad that many, but apparently not all, the animals had to be moved to other facilities.  Fortunately, the Woodbridge Veterinary Group, among others, was able to support the Woodbridge Animal Shelter in caring for many of the animals.

The Woodbridge Veterinary Group was original planned to handle the township's animal shelter needs, but owing to politics, it was eschewed in favor of its current operation and location.

While visiting the Woodbridge Animal Shelter & Pet Adoption Center on November 5, with donations, it was heartbreaking to see the loss of equipment and the degree of damage done at the shelter.  However, it was even worse to see and video (video not provided with this blog)the conditions at the shelter.

While the staff was doing all they could to clean-up the flood damage with the limited chemicals and equipment at their disposal, that effort appeared to be beyond their capabilities.  To make matters worse, there were dogs in caged areas on the first floor were debris was still present.  There was no heat and the doors were all open because of the chemical fumes and the need for fresh area.  The workers were not wearing HAZMAT clothing or equipment.  The type of chemicals being used by these well intentioned, but most likely untrained personnel in HAZMAT remediation practices has to be called into consideration.

It is hoped that all who love and care about animals will lend their support to restoring the shelter.  It is also hoped the residents of Woodbridge Township, together with the residents of the other communities that entrust the care of their animals to Woodbridge, under shared service agreements, will demand the Woodbridge shelter be relocated be a safer location.  As a minimum, the public should call for the NJ DEP, and any other applicable State agencies, to certify the Woodbridge shelter is structurally sound, fit for purpose, and properly disinfected, before human or animal once again occupy the facility.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Sandy Perez-Nunez November 09, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Where can we drop off donations for the animal shelter? I went last Saturday and it was closed. I have all the donations in the trunk of my car. thanks.
Sara November 09, 2012 at 03:17 PM
I've been dropping stuff off during adoption hours: Mon: 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm Tue: 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm Wed: 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm Thu: 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm Fri: 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm Sat: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Tom Maras November 09, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Great! Hope they, the workers and the animals, get all the help they need. The facility still remains in a bad location and should be inspected by the DEP and other agencies (not Woodbridge Health Dept.) to insure all is right and all will be safe!
marge petrow November 09, 2012 at 05:21 PM
The Woodbridge animal shelter did have a great deal of damage from the hurricane. So did my home-should I relocate? The shelter is perfectly safe & sound where it is. I do have to wonder where everyone (who has a negative remark to make about the shelter ) was when there was no place for all of the homeless animals in Woodbridge and the animals were housed @ cp chemical in Sewaren. I was @ the shelter for 3 days helping with the cleanup and the shelter and all of the homeless animals are safe & secure.
Goldie Locks November 09, 2012 at 06:47 PM
The title of this is very misleading. Instead of an editorial entirely about the damage at the Woodbridge Animal Shelter and what can be done, Mr. Maras spends most of his time dumping on the Woodbridge dog park, the shelter location, and Mayor McCormac. With all due respect Mr. Maras, you have done more harm to the Woodbridge Animal Shelter with your devisive actions than one trip with donations is going to make up for.
Sara November 09, 2012 at 06:53 PM
And many of us very much appreciate all the work you have done and continue to do.
Irina November 09, 2012 at 09:57 PM
It's hard to believe Woodbridge Township is no where to be found to help this shelter. BUT Mac and crew have no problems protecting their local puppy mill; Fancy Pups. The home of sick and dying puppies. MAC YOU DISGUST ME!!!!! Tom thanks for bringing this is our attention. VOTERS WAKE UP!
Debbie W November 10, 2012 at 12:31 PM
If no one is there, you can leave donations by the side door. They are still busy with repairs so they are not open to the public at this time. And if you are interested in adopting an animal (dog, cat, guinea pig or rabbit), contact the shelter and they will arrange a way for you to meet the animals.
Debbie W November 10, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Awesome job with the clean up, Marge.
Tom Maras November 10, 2012 at 02:00 PM
First, it is hoped all the animals are safe and living in a comfortable environment. The shelter was severally flood with waters known to have been containment. The staff is doing all they can we what they have in regard to cleaning materials and chemicals. The facility needs to be cleaned and disinfected by certified HAZMAT personnel, before it should be re-opened. The NJ DEP and other state agencies have and are being requested to inspect the facility to ensure it is fit for use. Given that McCormac had to apologize for the facility operating without a COO, certainly supports the contention that applicable state agencies get involved. As to your house, do what you must. The shelter should never have been placed at its current location, as Hurricane Sandy shown! Where are all the animals now, especially the cats! When I was there a few days ago, two (2) poor dogs were in pens on the cold, wet concert 1st floor while other section in the pen areas were being hosed out. A number of cats were on the second floor (have all of it on video). Chemical fumes and odors were present and very noticeable. Spoke to a NJASPCA official about that matter and they will respond accordingly. The staff said they had more food than they need, but were in need of other materials. Why didn't the shelter have an emergency contingency for such an event. Did the administration use reverse 911 calls to ask for help?
Tom Maras November 10, 2012 at 02:08 PM
@Goldie Locks. With all due respect, my concerns, dog park, shelter, cats being destroyed, etc., are about the animals, not politicians and their minions. The "Administration" has spend $$$$'s on this facility; for whom, the animals or for votes?
Tom Maras November 10, 2012 at 02:20 PM
@ Guess who. Heard Mac was out doing photo-ops with the PS&G lineman. He needs to show who has the "power" in MacBelieve Kingdom!
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