Trenton Animal Shelter left without operating plan after City Council votes down contractor

Some City Council members expressed concerns with the way the shelter was being run.
TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The operation of Trenton's animal shelter is up in the air after City Council voted not to renew its current contractor.

Volunteers, pet owners and board members gathered outside the Trenton Animal Shelter Friday afternoon as a locksmith changed the locks on the doors.

Trenton Animals Rock Executive Director Danielle Gletow says the animal control officers are now in charge of caring for the animals while the city comes up with a plan.

She says her nonprofit organization has worked to improve conditions at the shelter over the past two years and has raised money to pay for veterinary bills.

"When we stepped in, is the only reason they continued to provide care for city animals," said Gletow. "Because we stepped in and said, 'we will take over paying bills,' which we have done."

Yvonne Adkins of Upper Makefield Twp., Pa. came to support the organization with her dog, Honey.

She adopted Honey two weeks ago from the shelter.

"They offered you any help that you needed. You'd send an email and five in the morning, and at seven in the morning I had a response," said Adkins. "The people who work there are so nice."

A city spokesperson issued the following statement Friday afternoon:

"Because of council's decision to vote it down, the city is losing the services of a veterinarian, vet techs, dog cage cleaners, and professionals who provide important services for residents."

While leaders with Trenton Animals Rock expressed concerns Friday over dogs being euthanized, a spokesperson for the city said that no dogs are in imminent danger, and they are working on an interim plan for operations.

This week in public sessions, some City Council members expressed concerns with the way the shelter was being run.

Councilwoman Robin Vaughn said she had many email complaints about the organization.

"There are a lot of issues with compliance with the law, keeping the disease level down, having the right certified folks working over there, making sure the facility is adequate," said Vaughn during a virtual meeting on Tuesday.

On Friday, Vaughn released the following statement.

"With consideration of all inputs, my vote stands. Respectfully, my priority is the gun violence, police brutality and misconduct in the City of Trenton. The budget and resource plan of the City of Trenton properly and adequately funds the Department of Health and Human Services and its division of Trenton Humane Law Enforcement & Animal Services, as requested by its director on an annual basis. If you would like that plan for the city's animal shelter (owned by the residents and taxpayers of Trenton), then contact Mayor Reed Gusciora and his appointed Director, Dr. Adela Lopez. Moreover, many of the residents and taxpayers of the City of Trenton want our animal shelter to be run by City of Trenton employees, not contractors."

Action News was not able to reach the other three council members who voted against the contract on Friday.
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