LETTER-End Pound Seizure at the Camden , NJ County Animal Shelter
- Alert prepared by Marion Churchill CompassionForCam@...
Help us end Pound Seizure at the
Camden County Animal Shelter!
Stop the cruelty! Stop the betrayal of public trust!
Please, phone and write the Camden County Freeholders!
The address for all Freeholders is:
Camden County Courthouse
520 Market Street, Camden, NJ 08102
Jeffrey L. Nash
Edward T. McDonnell
Helen M. Albright
Riletta L. Cream
Laurelle A. Cummings
Thomas J. Gurick
Also, please write a letter to the Editor of the Courier-Post
PO Box 5300,
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
cpedit @ courierpostonline.com (remove spaces)
Your letters should be original and re-drafted to fit the editorial pages of the paper. Please remember: identical letters are never printed. We thank you for you efforts to help end the tragedy.
Dear Freeholder...(name of freeholder)
Five years ago the county provided a desperately needed animal shelter. Ever since the opening of the shelter the county has contracted the Camden County Humane Society, now the Humane Society of Southern NJ (HSSNJ), to run the shelter.
As you know, the HSSNJ is currently being investigated for allowing the use of its shelter animals for experimentation, a practice that is illegal in the state of New Jersey. In addition, according to witnesses 70% of the animals involved in the experimentation became ill and had to be destroyed upon return to the shelter.
Being familiar with many facets concerning animal welfare I would like to inform you that there is not a single, properly run animal shelter in the country that would allow its animals to be removed from its care, let alone be exploited in this manner.
I am appealing to you cancel your contract with the HSSNJ and install a caring contractor.
Your name, address, phone. Thanks! BACKGROUND INFORMATION:In April of this year, Marion Churchill, founder and president of Compassion for Camden (CFC), discovered that the Camden County Animal Shelter and Adoption Center had involved itself in a practice commonly known as �pound seizure�. Pound seizure refers to the use of shelter animals for testing/experimentation, an illegal practice and a crime of the fourth degree in New Jersey. No other shelter in the New Jersey allows this practice.
Note: The Camden County Animal Shelter and Adoption Center is county funded. The county freeholders award an annual operating contract to the Camden County Humane Society (CCHS). As of recently, officially or unofficially, the CCHS changed its name to the Humane Society of Southern NJ (HSSNJ). The new name choice seems strange since the organization has very little to do with Southern NJ outside of Camden County. As of October 2002, there are several lawsuits pending against the HSSNJ. Could the Camden County Freeholders have initiated this name change in an effort to distance HSSNJ from the county name for fear that the lawsuits could hurt the county image?
During casual conversation involving fundraising with Glenn McCleery, Executive Director of HSSNJ, Churchill listened in shock as he detailed a particular �fundraising event� which netted the organization $1,000 per session. McCleery openly informed Churchill that he allowed an ultrasound machine company to remove a number of dogs and cats from the shelter to be used as test subjects for ultrasound experimentation. At the time Churchill did not seek further information and none was offered by McCleery. Having heard enough, Churchill immediately explained the unethical and potentially illegal nature of the practice. She pointed out that he should discuss this with his board president Richard Perr, an attorney.
Feeling secure that the practice would stop, Churchill gave the issue no further thought. Then in August 2002, Churchill paid a rare visit to the Camden County Animal Shelter. What brought her there was the plight of a rescued Camden dog who was in need of special rehabilitation.
During the August heat wave, this dog (that Churchill named Andy) had suffered greatly on the streets of Camden. For about a week the dog was spotted with a plastic container stuck over his head, which barely allowed him to breathe.
Compassion for Camden associates and a private animal control officer tracked the dog without success for several days. City animal control finally caught up with Andy and placed him in the County Shelter. The story about Andy received quite a bit of coverage in local newspapers and on web sites. Many people were following Andy's story and calling the shelter hoping to adopt him. McCleery voiced his opinion that the dog was not good candidate for adoption based on some aggressive behavior. Oddly, about one week after his arrival at the Camden County Animal Shelter, Andy disappeared from the shelter. The dog's whereabouts is still unknown to Churchill. McCleery claimed that the dog "ran away". But Andy has never been seen since inspite of a $ 1,000 reward offered by Compassion for Camden.
During her visit to the shelter to check on Andy, Churchill learned through casual conversation with McCleery that the ultrasound testing was still going on. She was stunned that McCleery had paid no attention to her warning and had allowed the practice to continue. However this time she remained silent.
Compassion for Camden went into high gear, phoning and emailing local and national humane societies, animal rights organizations and law experts. The experts agreed that ultrasound testing did appear to be breaking New Jersey law. They advised that the situation be brought to the attention of the NJ SPCA for prosecution.
Churchill's affidavit to the SPCA became the vehicle which started an intensive investigation of the Camden County Animal Shelter and its contractor the HSSNJ.
Horrific details came to light. According to the SPCA's investigation dogs and cats would be taken out of the shelter by the ultrasound company and shipped to the Clarion Hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ. There they would be sedated and used for testing over a period of days. Upon return to the shelter most animals had become ill. Some were shaking violently, puss was oozing from their nose and ears, others were unable to stand. Most of the animals were "put down" at the shelter. Whether or not the ultrasound testing alone was responsible for the condition of the animals has yet to be proven. But, one thing seems apparent, adoptable dogs and cats had been taken from the shelter to be returned as candidates for euthanasia.
In late October 2002 the NJ SPCA filed charges in NJ Superior Court Camden County against the Camden County Humane Society/Humane Society of Southern NJ, their board president Richard Perr, employee Glenn McCleery, Sound Technology and their employee Lane Naffzinger.
It seems clear that such testing on animals, not to mention the disappearance of the dog Andy, is breaching public trust in the county's sheltering system and worse, may be responsible for causing pain, suffering and death to the very animals they are paid and entrusted to protect.
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