To Our Community and Supporters:

In light of recent developments regarding animal care and control in the City of Plainfield, the Plainfield Area Humane Society (PAHS) would like to provide the public with additional information and clarification about the circumstances surrounding the cancelation of services. We want to ensure that the community understands the full scope of the challenges private, nonprofit animal shelters such as ours face, and why other shelters are making similar decisions.

New Jersey state law mandates that all municipalities must have animal control services for domestic and wildlife as well as an animal impoundment facility for domestic stray, surrendered, and abandoned animals. In some jurisdictions throughout the state, local cities and counties run their own animal sheltering facilities, others contract with private facilities to provide their citizens with these services and to meet the state mandates.

Because of our care and concern for animals in the community, we, like many private, not-for-profit animal sheltering charitable organizations, are willing to service municipal contracts to assist New Jersey municipalities in meeting their mandates. Unfortunately, in many instances, these contracts are largely underfunded. Municipalities save a significant amount of money by not running their own animal shelters and transferring these burdens onto private organizations. Considering the community needs and the importance of animal welfare services in public health, it is important that our government properly fund these vital services.

Recently, a large, nonprofit animal shelter in northern NJ announced it would stop servicing 19 municipal contracts under its organization. Press reports at the time noted this resulted largely because the process was financially unsustainable for their private charity due to lack of proper funding on the local level.

Our organization had to make the very difficult decision last year to end our contract with the City of Plainfield due to lack of space and sufficient funding. We provided a 90-day Notice and a public statement which was published in local media outlets such as TAPInto Plainfield. We want to further clarify what services we do provide and give the public insight into the tremendous intake of animals our shelter has experienced. Our mission is to provide care and refuge for animals and find lifesaving exit plans for the animals in our care. When virtually all animal shelters are facing a crisis in capacity, as also noted in recent news articles, servicing a contract for a city as large as Plainfield under these circumstances is simply not sustainable.

During our contract with the City of Plainfield, Plainfield Area Humane Society (PAHS) serviced six municipalities across three counties. Our facility has twenty-three kennels that can house a single dog in each. The number of animals impounded from the City of Plainfield alone was greater than every other town we serviced, combined. In 2022, our facility took in a total of 322 dogs and 524 cats, of which the City of Plainfield accounted for 194 dogs and 367 cats, respectively. In 2023, we took in a total of 269 dogs and 249 cats, of which the City of Plainfield accounted for 159 dogs and 129cats. The volume of animals from the City of Plainfield was simply overwhelming on a facility as small as ours thus making it extremely difficult to fulfill our mission of offering the best animal care to all the communities we serve.

In addition to our capacity limitations, the City of Plainfield’s contracted payments only covered a small portion of what it cost our organization to provide the needed care for the city’s animals, which included daily care, veterinarian examinations, medical treatment, spaying/neutering surgeries and vaccinations.

PAHS has worked tirelessly to service the City of Plainfield for as long as possible, but despite all of our best efforts and the generous donations from our supporters, we were consistently operating at a significant and unsustainable loss. If continued, we were facing the real possibility of closure, which would have prevented us from servicing any animals from the communities under our care. This would have been a terrible consequence given the national crisis in animal sheltering today.

PAHS is dedicated to finding animals their forever homes, and treating, healing, and providing optimal well-being for those placed in our care. However, we can only do so within the confines of our space and financial limitations. We welcome more dialogue with elected officials to ensure they understand the challenges facing our community of nonprofit animal sheltering work and the importance of properly funding animal welfare. We also welcome the public’s support through material and financial donations, which is in large part how our organization is able to function as a charity. We want to assist as many people and animals as we can within our space and financial confines.

PAHS truly appreciates the support of the Plainfield community and hopes for its understanding in this difficult situation. We encourage you to contact your local and state officials and urge them to properly fund animal welfare services. Please make your voice heard in support of animal shelters and the animals in our communities.

Warm regards,

Plainfield Area Humane Society

 

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