FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
John Bergmann, General Manager,
Barbara Lathrop, AHS Board of Directors Member,
Roseann Trezza, Executive Director,
July 20, 2010
AHS/Popcorn Park to No Longer Provide Lacey Township Animal Control
LACEY TOWNSHIP, NJ – Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park, the organization that has provided animal control services for this township for 35 years, will no longer fill that role after August 31 this year.
The Lacey Township Committee has opted not to renew the contract it has held with AHS/Popcorn Park – the town’s only resident animal control agency and shelter – and will contract for three separate services including a pest control agency for animal control, an out-of-town animal shelter and a private veterinarian. AHS/Popcorn Park has provided animal care and control, which included free veterinary service every day except nights, weekends and holidays for those injured or sick animals picked up by AHS animal control officers. Popcorn Park has been available during emergencies, fires, domestic violence situations, wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release and has served the residents since 1975.
“We are disappointed that the governing body of Lacey Township has decided to look outside its own municipal boundaries for animal control services,” said AHS Board of Director Member Barbara Lathrop. “AHS is a resident of Lacey Township. Our neighbors here have come to know us and rely on us for conscientious, professional and speedy animal control assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Unfortunately, it has been stated that the change in animal control service was due to the economy and there may be a cost savings.”
Beginning September 1, Lacey residents must call the township for any and all animal control assistance, be it the removal of wild animals, assistance with strays or animals in need of veterinary assistance. In addition, Lacey residents looking for lost pets will no longer find them at AHS’s Forked River Animal Care Facility.
“I think it’s going to be difficult on residents who think of us as their experts for all issues involving animal control. I’m sad that we will no longer be able to help our neighbors,” said John Bergmann, General Manager of AHS Forked River Animal Care Facility and Popcorn Park. “I don’t like the idea of turning away our neighbors, but that is what we are being forced to do. I hope that the folks in Lacey who have always been our friends will continue to support our general efforts to protect and care for animals.”
The services Associated Humane Societies provides to towns that contract with them are quite extensive – much more than other agencies, according to AHS/Popcorn Park Executive Director Roseann Trezza.
They include: longer operating hours, seven days a week; the ability to rescue and shelter any type of wild or domesticated animal – not just cats and dogs; on-site veterinary care; spay/neuter of all adoptions, community outreach activities; the handling of animal cruelty investigations in conjunction with the SPCA, and mostly a longstanding reputation of caring about and for all animals.
“We took animal control to a higher level -- it is also a matter of public health and the humane thing to do. Contract exclusions bring price down but humane care and kindness cost money. The residents of Lacey Township have a nonprofit agency whose sole mission is the protection, welfare and advocacy of all domestic and wild animals. The services we provide in municipal animal control are unparalleled, available 24 hours, seven days a week and may come with a higher price tag than the more minimal services a town would receive from a pest control business,” Ms. Trezza said. “For example, it is mandated that all sick and injured strays require veterinary care immediately. This is done by AHS/PP at no charge to the municipality. It is understandable in this economic climate that a governing body would look to cut costs in all ways. I hope this change doesn’t come with its own cost for the township’s domestic and wild animals.”
Residents with questions about the change should call Lacey Township officials.
Please read our letter to Lacey Township residents.