Dear Supporters, Colleagues, and Friends,
I have difficult news to share.
On October 2nd, 2023 the City of Jersey City informed Liberty Humane Society (LHS) that they would be ending our contractual agreement to provide animal control services, effective October 31st, 2023. The abrupt ending to our animal control agreement left LHS unable to appropriately fund or manage Jersey City’s animal sheltering program and facility. The termination of these agreements also invalidates the LHS lease for 235 Jersey City Boulevard, which is owned by the City of Jersey City but has been solely operated and maintained by LHS since 2004.
Upon discussion with the LHS Board, The City of Jersey City has agreed to terminate both animal control and sheltering service agreements with LHS and take custody of 235 Jersey City Boulevard at midnight on December 31st, 2023. The City of Jersey City will assume direct responsibility for jurisdictional animal control and sheltering programing at that time. LHS animal control and sheltering services to Hoboken will also end on December 31st, 2023. All LHS programs administered on-site at 235 Jersey City Boulevard will cease, and all remaining animals off of stray hold will be transferred into off-site foster care. No LHS animals will be left behind.
This is a time of momentous, unexpected change, but it is not the end. LHS is a private non-profit (501c3) organization, and our public mission will continue. As we focus now on exiting this municipal relationship with grace, LHS is also taking this unexpected opportunity to lean in to our medical programs and re-envision our role as an animal welfare organization focused on preventative veterinary care. We are laying the groundwork to open an affordable low cost animal health services facility in Jersey City, as well as relaunch our spay/neuter and wellness services for pet owners in 2024.
While we are saddened at the end of 19 year public-private partnership, we welcome Jersey City’s acceptance of direct responsibility for these essential services. We wish them the best as they take on the task of designing and executing on these animal control, sheltering, and medical programs as they see fit.
Since 2004 LHS and private donors have invested in and turned a tiny, dilapidated auto garage into an animal welfare facility to be proud of. LHS successfully defended this property from eminent domain and subsequent redevelopment and fought every step of the way to raise private funds so that the facility could finally be conducive to progressive animal sheltering and care. We are now handing back to Jersey City a building, and a property, that is unrecognizable. We hope they honor these private efforts and now dedicate the municipal resources needed to maintain and continue to improve upon them.
As we begin the immediate process of vacating the property, we urgently need your help to place the animals in our care. We currently have more than 150 animals in need of permanent homes, rescue transfer, or barn placement, and more will continue to come in every day until the facility transition takes place on December 31st. To facilitate the immediate adoption of as many animals as possible, we will be waiving fees on all large dogs (40+ pounds) and adult cats from Saturday, October 21st through Saturday October 28th. Please review the adoptable animals on our website to submit an application and schedule an appointment. At this time we are focusing on the immediate adoption of all animals in care, but there will be many other future needs, ranging from foster home placement to equipment transport and storage. If you are interested in helping in any capacity when the time comes, please make sure you are on LHS’s email newsletter list and are able to receive correspondence.
If you are a rescue group with a facility able to help with larger numbers of cats or dogs as the transition nears, please contact [email protected] to discuss your placement options. Stipends are available to rescue groups who are willing to take those animals most in need.
From the bottom of my heart, I am profoundly grateful to you, our donors and friends. Freedom comes in unexpected forms. May we now have the strength and vision to make the most of it, on our own terms.
Irene and the LHS Board of Directors