Senator Lesniak is trying to push through bill S63. His claim is that pet shops sell puppies from bad breeders that have a history of violations.

Perhaps Senator Lesniak should look at the abysmal inspection reports of the shelters right here in NJ!  Why should a pet shop be forced to deal with shelters like this? Why should a pet shop take on the legal liability of dogs/cats coming from THESE conditions?

Here are some of the highlights from the NJ shelters listed below:

  1. Hundreds of violations of neglect, cruelty, unsanitary conditions,
  2. Animal control officer slits the throat of an animal, killing it, 14 cruelty charges filed
  3. Veterinarian has not visited the facility “in quite some time”
  4. 44 cruelty charges filed against the director
  5. inspection reveals more than 50 violations in a single visit
  6. has not passed an inspection since 2010 
  7. multiple dogs showing extreme signs of aggression
  8. animals showing signs of contagious illness not being treated
  9. sick/diseased/injured animals not provided with basic vet care to alleviate suffering
  10. filthy conditions that put animals, employees, and the public at risk of disease
  11. sick/injured animals not examined by a vet or treated for more than a week
  12. sick animals kept in with healthy animals, spreading disease 
  13. does not have a veterinarian as required by law
  14. disease control program not followed
  15. shelter worker found with 300 dead animals in her home, cruelty charges filed
  16. expired medications being used
  17. bowls of food covered in mold
  18. many animal carcasses left in the open, not properly disposed of, risking disease
  19. shelter director charged with 18 counts of cruelty for “failing to provide sustenance”
  20. spays/neuters being performed by employees, NOT veterinarians
  21. shelter alters records of dog with bite history, adopts it out, kills new owner 9 days later

Actual resignation letter written by a licensed veterinarian employed by the Newark Shelter:

“One of the main reasons I am resigning is because insufficient resources are allocated for basic needs – housing, food, and medical well-being of the shelter animals and the operation of the Medical Department. As a result, it is my professional judgment that minimal standards of care are not being met and that delivery of medical care to animals is sorely lacking to the point that animals are suffering. Indeed, I am becoming increasingly alarmed at the level of care provided by AHS which I think is often below the minimal standard of humane care provided by state anti-cruelty laws. Also, I am concerned that AHS is acting negligently toward animal owners and the public that it is supposed to serve.”

East Orange Animal Shelter- Essex County NJ


2016-JanuaryThe (NJSPCA) filed 44 animal cruelty charges against the director of the East Orange Department of Health and Human Services, an East Orange city administrator after an inspection in 2015 showed horrific conditions and cruelty at the shelter.

2015-July 16th- inspected and found to be UNSATISFACTORY by the health department due to numerous, repeat violations that include:

many animals did not have water and “showed signs of excessive thirst” 

a mother cat and her kittens did not have water, the mother “appeared dehydrated and she had brown crusty discharge in the corner of her eyes” but was housed in the general population with other cats and not examined by a veterinarian.  The cat was later diagnosed with “a highly contagious disease”.

“repeat deficiency-sick, diseased, and injured animals were not provided with at least prompt, basic veterinary care to alleviate pain and suffering as required” by law.

A stray, injured cat was brought to the facility on 7/14/15 with a fractured leg was left in a cage in pain and with no medication or examination by a veterinarian, as seen by the inspectors for four days, and was not examined or treated by a vet until 7/17/15.  The cat also did not have any water.

A cat was brought into the facility on 7/7/15 weighing 11 pounds. Workers stated that the cat had not eaten or drank water for the ten days it had been there yet it was not examined by a veterinarian. Inspectors noted on 7/16/15, the “cat appeared to be very thin and severely dehydrated and emitted characteristic distress calls and vocalization”. The inspector weighed the cat and the cat weighed only 4 lbs., having lost 7 pounds during this timeframe. “The bones of the cat could be easily felt by the inspector. This cat did not have water in its cage at the time of the inspection”.  Although the inspector asked that the cat be examined by a veterinarian, the cat was not examined by a veterinarian until 7/17/15 at which time “it was determined to be severely dehydrated and in chronic renal failure and had to be euthanized”.

“cages and enclosures were not being cleaned and disinfected properly as required” to “prevent an accumulation of debris and excreta”.

“disease control program was not being followed by staff members as required”

expired medications were found in the kitchen area


East Orange Animal Shelter New Jersey East orange Animal Shelter New Jersey

Numerous animals were euthanized prior to the seven day hold period as required by law.

Animals were not weighed prior to euthanasia to ensure that sufficient and humane death is accomplished through the proper dosage of medication.

“ bowl of food was covered with white mold”

“small animal carriers were filled with an accumulation of feces, leaves and other debris”

“numerous outdoor enclosures contained feces”

“housing facilities for animals were not maintained in good repair”

“strong, stale urine odor in the main cat room, ventilation was not sufficient”

“accumulation of contaminated materials, including fur, feces, food, and other debris” in animal enclosures

“fencing was damaged and in need of repair”

“water and food bowls were not cleaned and disinfected daily as required” by law.

Jersey Animal Coalition Shelter-South Orange, Essex County NJ

2014-March 12thhealth department inspection shows more than 50 violations that the facility was “not in compliance with the provisions of NJ Animal Care requirements for numerous health code and animal welfare code violations.  In April of 2013 an inspection showed many of the same violations and continues to be in non-compliance for repeat violations as well as new violations.

“the fire inspection certificate had expired” the year previously, as required by law.

“numerous animals were being administered medication, but there was no documentation that these animals were reported to or examined by a licensed veterinarian and diagnosed with a disease or suspected disease”

“there was no evidence available which indicated that sick, diseased, injured or lame animals were provided with prompt, basic veterinary care to alleviate pain and suffering”

“dogs were displaying signs of aggression, which included lunging at the door of the enclosure, tight lipped growling and low toned fierce barking, raised lips and presentation of teeth in combination with an intense stare”

“there were no importation certificate available for dogs that had been imported into NJ from other states”

*even though in 2013 the shelter reported that 77% of the dogs are imported, many from out of state!

“there was no evidence available to indicate that dogs and cats placed in custody of the facility are scanned for a microchip when they arrive or before they are released or euthanized”

“dog crates were being used as primary enclosures to house dogs throughout the facility”

“4 crates were housing aggressive dogs and were insufficient to provide safe containment of the animals”

“The dogs housed in outdoor enclosures were wet from standing in water that remained in the enclosures”

“several dogs showed signed of irritation, including redness of skin and discoloration of the fur on their paws” due to sitting in wet enclosures.

“enclosures do not appear to meet the minimum standard size for the majority of the dogs that were housed in them” as per NJ requirements that follow USDA sizing requirements, as required by law.

“animals showing signs of contagious illness were not removed from rooms containing healthy animals” as required by law.

“female cats that had not been spayed were housed in the same free roaming cat room with sexually intact male cats”.

there were no records available to indicate that impounded animals were held at the facility at least 7 days to give the owner a chance to reclaim”

“cages were not being properly cleaned and disinfected at least once per day” as required by law.

“excreta was not removed from the enclosures often enough to prevent contamination of the animals contained in them and to control disease hazards”.

“the outdoor exercise enclosure contained exorbitant accumulation of feces that had not been scooped, cleaned or disinfected for an indeterminate number of days or weeks”.

“a storage container contained dry kibble type food that was littered with paper refuse and other items”

“bags of food in the outdoor shed were stored on the floor which was wet at the time of the inspection and the food was not protected from contamination”

“water bowls were not removed during cleaning process which caused the bowls to become contaminated from cleaning chemicals and waste material.  These bowls were not removed and replaced”.

“the wall along the back of the main dog kennel area appeared to show evidence of water damage”

“there were accumulations of dog feces in various stages of decomposition” located throughout the interior and exterior of the facility.

“premises were not cleaned of excessive feces and fecal residue to protect animals, employees and visitors from the risk of disease and to facilitate the prescribed sanitary practices in these rules”

“there was an accumulation of debris and excessive amount of clutter and haphazard storage of items in various places inside and outside of the facility”

“The facility did not have sufficient ventilation to minimize odors. Although (one room) only contained 4 dogs at the time of this inspection, there was a strong must odor emanating from an unknown source in this room”.

Gloucester County Animal Shelter NJ

2015-October- an inspection revealed dozens of violations, and many repeat violations!

the last prior inspection was in 2009.

“The inspector was told that the veterinarian had not visited the facility for quite some time” required by law.

“some animals were administered prescription medications without an examination by a licensed veterinarian” against the law.

“the shelter illegally killed 312 cats, 71 dogs and a rabbit between January and October 2015 by failing to the hold the animals for seven days, as required by the state.”

“using inappropriate methods to euthanize animals”

numerous violations related to unsanitary conditions” 

“a kitten was showing signs of a communicable disease and was not separated from other healthy animals” and was not seen by a licensed veterinarian and was not being treated for its illness.


“a stray cat that was impounded was euthanized the following morning” even though there was “a microchip that was registered to a previous owner” and the owner “was not given the opportunity to reclaim the cat”.

“cats and kittens were not euthanized by intravenous injection” which is the acceptable form of euthanasia.

“records showed that many animals were not being scanned for a micro-chip”.  

“the inspector was told that animals were not being scanned for a microchip prior to being euthanized at the facility” which is against the law.

The facility did not have a stethoscope to check the heart rate and pulse rate of euthanized animals to ensure that the animals are clinically dead prior to disposal, as required by law.

The facility did not have a scale to weigh animals to provide proper dosages of medications and more importantly euthanasia solution, to ensure and provide a swift and humane death, as required by law.

Animal cages are not cleaned and disinfected at least once daily, which is against the law.

Sick animals are housed with healthy animals, which is against the law.

North Jersey Humane Society Rescue Center, Bloomfield NJ

2015– August 19th– was inspected by state board of health and found to have dozens of violations!

A baby deer (fawn) was impounded by the animal control officer on 6/29/15 and was killed by slitting the throat of the deer! This “is an unacceptable method of euthanasia in accordance” with NJ regulations and subsequently the officer was charged with 14 counts of animal cruelty by the NJSPCA and was subsequently fired.

“A baby squirrel, approximately 3 weeks of age with its eyes not yet open, was not being fed as required to meet the nutritional needs. There was no infant replacement formula of any kind at the facility for this squirrel at the time of the inspection.  The squirrel was not receiving proper care and nourishment as required and was not placed in suitable housing to maintain the safety and wellbeing of this animal for the two days it was housed at the facility”.

As required by law, shelter animals must be housed in the same minimum of space as allowed by USDA but many animals at this shelter were held in cages far too small for them to move about freely.

“two large Rottweilers were housed in an enclosure that measured only 10 square feet, 30% smaller than the minimum required by law, which requires a MINIUMUM of 14-16 square feet of floor space.

“a dog named Benny was not placing any weight on his front leg and also had ulcer type sores in various locations on all four feet, some of these sores were shallow open wounds.  The dog had not received any veterinary care since it arrived at the facility” four days earlier.

“enclosures were broken and in need of repair” “long protruding screws could cause injury to animals and people”

North Jersey Humane Society Rescue North Jersey Humane Society Rescue

“food and water receptacles were not being disinfected daily as required” by law.

“cages and enclosures were not being cleaned and disinfected properly as required by law and disinfectants were not being used” as required by law.

“there was a strong, stale urine odor, ventilation was not sufficient to remove odors as required”

“a chain link dog enclosure located on the asphalt pavement was not provided with sufficient shade”

“exposed wires, holes in the ceiling”

“open bags of food” which is against the law.

“there were medications at the facility that did not contain prescription labels” as required by law.

“the facility was not inspected by the local health authority for the current year, was not in compliance with these rules, and therefore was not licensed at the time of inspection” which is against the law.

“the fire inspection certification had expired in 2014” which is against the law.

“the facility was occupied while under construction without evidence of approvals and permits”

Monmouth County NJ SPCA  Monmouth County NJ

2013-2014shelter worker arrested of animal cruelty for having over 300 dead animals in her home, many of which had starved to death in their crates.  Ms. Rell, worked at shelter for at least 15 years as a volunteer and was listed as a sub-permitted licensed rehabilatator by NJDEP (department of environmental protection).

2015- SPCA Chief resigns after another animal cruelty investigator files a lawsuit due to the Chief sending racist/homophobic/tranphobic texts that included comparing the African americans to primates and degrading comments about Jews.

Associated Humane Society- 3 locations: Newark, Tinton Falls, Forked River,

2009– The Newark Health department found dozens of violations and the shelter did not pass inspection due to:

The facility was filled to capacity on the date of the inspection. Inspectors Were told that the facility receives over 30 stray animals per day from contracted municipalities. Inspectors were also told that a shipment of Boxer dogs was being imported from Texas to be sheltered at this location. It is strongly recommended that this facility refrain from importing dogs from out of state due to the inability to properly maintain the animals required to be received through municipal impoundment contracts.

“animals euthanized prior to the 7 day hold period had expired”

Excessive amounts of feces were present in the dog kennel runs in every room, causing the dogs to repeatedly lose their balance and slide through their own feces.

Associated-Humane-Societies-Newark-Animal-Shelter-6 Associated-Humane-Societies-Newark-Animal-Shelter7 Associated-Humane-Societies-Newark-Animal-Shelter8

Repeat violation: A large amount of animal carcasses were being stored outside in open plastic bags, piled on top of each other in a shopping cart. Pools of blood and other fluid from the bodies were also present in this area which produced an overwhelming malodorous smell.

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During the course of the inspection, State inspectors found a dead grey/white cat. Another orange tabby cat(# 83533) was found dead in its cage in the sick cat room. Staff was unaware that either of these cats had died until it was brought to their attention by inspectors.

Animals are not being properly observed ort a daily basis by staff and are not being provided with prompt basic veterinary care. 

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Multiple records for animals were unorganized and incomplete. Many medical log books were unavailable and claimed to have been lost on the day of our inspection,

MultipIe animals showing signs of illness were not recorded as receiving treatment, 

“Premises in general are not maintained in good repair to protect the animals from injury.”

“The indoor surfaces of the dog kennels have peeling paint and many have cracks in the concrete and are not impervious to moisture.”

Mold was seen growing on the concrete

The dog kennels in the basement do not allow animals to remain dry and clean. All of the kennels were noticeably damp; and many were wet with an accumulation of water. Staff stated that there is no way to dry them and that it is ‘always wet down there’. Due to an air-conditioner leak, two kennels were soaking wet from water pouring into them from the air handling unit above – dogs were housed in these two kennels despite these conditions.

Animals showing signs of contagious illness must be removed from rooms and enclosures containing healthy animals, and housed in a separate isolation area A thin, weak cat (#83535) with severe. nasal discharge was being housed in the female colony cat room with the general population of cats. A dead cat, which the animal care staff had not noticed, was also found in this room. There is no isolation area established for dogs showing signs of contagious illness. Several dogs in the small dog room were actively showing signs of kennel cough, and the entire room was being treated with medication because of exposure to the infected dogs. A Cane Corso dog was exhibiting signs of severe bloody, watery diarrhea and lethargy and was not separated or receiving treatment. Many kittens in the kitten colony room also had diarrhea. Some cats in the feral cat pen had green nasal discharge.

improper disinfection

no proper veterinary medical treatment

premises not maintained to prevent animals from injury

padlocks on cages prevent evacuation in an emergency

documentation errors

2005 the shelter signed a consent agreement and was forced to pay $138,057 to settle allegations of the State’s Consumer Fraud Act and Charitable Registration and Investigation Act.

2004 the Newark shelter manager was charged after the shelter adopted out a Doberman Pinscher that had a bite history and was slated to be euthanized.  Instead, the euthanasia order was vacated, the dog was adopted out and nine days later the dog mauled to death its new owner.

2003 the State of NJ Commission of Investigation issued a scathing report on the misdeeds including:

“substandard conditions and treatment of animals”

“inhumane treatment of animals by workers”

“nonexistent or inadequate medical care”

“ignoring the states regulations governing the operation of animal shelters”

“having personel that are not veterinarians perform spays and neuters on animals”

failing to use enough of their massive amount of money “to properly care for its animals, shelters were mismanaged, ineffective oversight”

Executive Director Lee Bernstein served time in jail

Helmetta Animal Shelter, Middlesex County NJ

2014  shelter is raided and quarantined after repeated failures of state inspections due to “unsanitary conditions and sick animals”

The Shelter director is arrested and charged with animal cruelty

During the raid, inspectors found numerous animals suffering from health issues, including respiratory and eye disease, officials said. Inspectors also discovered healthy animals housed with unhealthy animals.

Of the approximately 230 dogs, cats and other animals held at the shelter, four were removed from the facility for immediate medical treatment. One cat expired while in transport. Another was euthanized at a Jamesburg vet’s office due to the seriousness of its condition, officials said.

Helmetta Animal Shelter New Jersey Helmetta Animal Shelter New Jersey Helmetta Animal Shelter New Jersey

Linden Animal Shelter- Union County NJ

2014-July 23rdan inspection found 30 violations including: “the building was considered unsafe due to structural defects, improper use of drugs when euthanizing animals; no documentation that a licensed veterinarian has established and is maintaining a disease control program at the shelter; inadequate cleaning and disinfection; cats routinely escaping from the facility, impounded stray animals not held for seven days and incomplete record keeping,”

2014-May 9th an “inspection found 23 violations, including “no current certificate of veterinary supervision for the facility” and “no adequate ventilation throughout the interior of the facility.”

Although the facility is required to be inspected every year, prior to this inspection, no inspection had been done since 2006.  

Rotted and chipped doors; gaps in the fencing, which showed some signs of rust; and standing water in the trough that carries away feces and urine during the cleaning of the dog runs were in plain view. The doors and interior of the cat cages also were rusted.”

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*After years of horrible conditions, cruelty, and poor record keeping that was ignored, the shelter was finally closed, only after the public put pressure and demanded accountability.

Elizabeth Animal Shelter- Elizabeth- Union County

2014– “Elizabeth Animal Shelter illegally killed 48 dogs and 35 cats in 2014 before the 7 day hold period. To put it another way, Elizabeth Animal Shelter illegally killed 49% of the dogs and 85% of the cats in 2014. In fact, Elizabeth Animal Shelter illegally killed 25 dogs and 14 cats in 2014 after News 12 New Jersey reported Elizabeth Animal Shelter’s illegal killing of two dogs within 30 minutes of arrival to the shelter. Even worse, Elizabeth Animal Shelter resumed the illegal killings less than a month after the News 12 story came out and the related uproar. Thus, Elizabeth Animal Shelter thumbed its nose at animal advocates, state law and all Elizabeth pet owners.

2015– Elizabeth Animal Shelter continued to illegally kill animals during the 7 day hold period in 2015. Elizabeth Animal Shelter illegally killed 28 dogs and 96 cats during the 7 day hold period in 2015. To state it another way, Elizabeth Animal Shelter illegally killed 53% of the dogs and 86% of the cats it killed in 2015. In addition, Elizabeth Animal Shelter killed 9 of those dogs and 5 of those cats after the New Jersey Department of Health issued a memo on October 20, 2015 reminding all shelters that it is illegal to kill animals during the 7 day hold period.”


Elizabeth’s Enigma of an Animal Shelter (Part 2 of 2)

Hunterdon Humane Shelter- Alexandria- 

2014-January- the shelter director was arrested on “18 counts of animal cruelty for failure to provide sustenanceafter officials take over in what they call an “unprecedented case of hoarding at the facility”