Hudson Animal Advocates (HAA)
See the recent Animal Cruelty thread to understand the relevance of this LONG announcement from the newly formed “Hudson Animal Advocates.”
“The following is long, but PLEASE read all of it.
I am pleased to be able to announce the formation of a new animal welfare organization, Hudson Animal Advocates. Hudson Animal Advocates (HAA) is currently in the process of applying for not-for-profit status. The first mission of Hudson Animal Advocates is to see that all laws relevant to the operation of the Hudson County District Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (HCSPCA) are enforced. To that end HAA has retained the services of New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center for pro-bono legal representation. In the words of our retainer, Appleseed has been retained to “provide legal services … in connection with … efforts to secure the open, transparent and lawful operation of the Hudson County SPCA (“SPCA”), a 501(c)(3) charity operating in the City of Jersey City. Specifically, … our advice on the matter of obtaining the cooperation of various state and local agencies in bringing the SPCA into compliance with various state and local statutory and regulatory requirements. This will include assistance from the Public Interest Attorney in drafting correspondence to various state and local agencies including but not limited to, the Attorney General, in which … will request the Attorney General take steps to dissolve the Board of Directors of the SPCA and replace same with a Board of Directors who can govern the organization appropriately and consistently with all applicable legal requirements. ” Joining us in signing the retainer is Jersey City Ward E Councilman Steven Fulop.“
In order to succeed in these goals, we will require your help and understanding. We need to start with three action items…
SEE ACTION ITEMS AND WHAT YOU CAN DO AFTER THE JUMP.
Action Item 1 – Local Government
We will start by reaching out to those who have taken some action and convince them to take the next steps. We need each of you, following closely the guidelines below, to write (via letter or email) to the State Health Department, cc’ing the inspectors, the Department’s Attorney, Mayor Healey, and New Jersey City Council President Mariano Vega. Your letters should mention the following, in your own words where you feel it is appropriate. Make sure to list whom you have cc’d at the bottom of the letter or email.
- The purpose of the letter is to request her cooperation in taking strong steps to ensure that the HCSPCA is properly regulated under NJAC 8:23A-1 et seq.
- The HCSPCA has a long history of operating in violation of shelter regulations NJAC 8:23A-1 et seq. The HCSPCA has exhibited and continues to exhibit a habitual practice of deplorable conditions and substandard care of the animals. The HCSPCA has no desire or intent to take the steps necessary to operate within the bounds of the law. Strong regulatory response is needed to bring the facility into compliance once and for all.
- The State Commission of Investigations’ 2001 report noted that the HCSPCA was the subject of more complaints and inspections than any other SPCA shelter in the state. The SCI was sharply critical of both the DHSS and the local Jersey City Health Dept. for failing to take appropriate steps to ensure the facility came into compliance. Both the DHSS and the local Jersey City Health dept. have a history of inspecting the facility, finding violations, and then failing to follow up or issue fines. In fact, the SCI stated that the DHSS’s failure to respond appropriately to the HCSPCA was indicative of the failure of the shelter inspection system as a whole.
- You should say that you are aware both the State DHSS and the local Health Dept. have recently inspected the HCSPCA and found intolerable conditions and numerous, egregious violations. To break the more than 25 year pattern of chronic abuses at the facility, and lack of appropriate official action, you are requesting the DHSS take the following steps:
- Issue fines to the HCSPCA for all violations found at the 2/20/08 inspection pursuant to your authority under N.J.S.A. 4:19-15.14 and N.J.S.A. 4:19-15.19. This is necessary and appropriate mostly because, as noted in the report, the conditions had worsened since the inspector’s last visit.
- Issue a recommendation to the local Jersey City Health Department to suspend the facility’s license until the HCSPCA submits and acts upon an approved Plan of Correction.
- Ascertain whether the HCSPCA currently has a license to operate from the local Jersey City Health Dept. If not, then take all steps necessary pursuant to the authority granted by N.J.S.A. 26:1A-15 and N.J.S.A. 26:1A-5: to shut the operation down until such time as a license can be obtained.
- Hold a Public Health Meeting between the local Jersey City Health Officer, Joseph Castagna, the president of the HCSPCA, and members of the public to create a plan aimed at bringing this facility into meaningful compliance.
- Continue to do regular, unannounced inspections until meaningful compliance is achieved.
The letter should end by asking her to please let the writer know what she decides to do.
ONCE YOU HAVE SENT YOUR LETTERS, PLEASE EMAIL HudsonAnimalAdvocates@comcast.net and let us know you have done so. As soon as enough people have emailed us that they have written, we will set up a call day. On that day we will ask each of you who wrote Dr. Sorhage’s office to call and confirm that your message was received and ask what action is planned.
Faye Sorhage, State Public Health Veterinarian
Department of Health and Senior Services
Division of Infectious and Zoonotic Disease
P.O. Box 369
Trenton, NJ 08625
Melissa H. Raksa, Chief Deputy Attorney General
Hughes Justice Complex, 8th Floor
PO Box 112
Trenton, NJ 08625
cc Mayor Healey and Councilman Vega with a note indicating that this is for their information (fyi). Please DO NOT include a note asking them what they intend to do. We will address them on city action at the appropriate time. They can be reached at the following addresses:
Council President Mariano Vega, Jr.
280 Grove Street, Room 202
Jersey City, NJ 07302
Mayor Jeremiah Healy
280 Grove Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302
Action Item 2 – Local Papers
We also need to raise public attention to the failings of the shelter without making direct accusations that we, as individual writers, can not prove. To that end, you should write to local publications that express your horror at the local news reports you have seen and poses one or more of the following questions:
- Can anyone tell who is on the Board of Directors of the HCSPCA? The information does not appear to be available anywhere.
- Does anyone know if they have a license? The only license you are aware of expired 5 years ago.
- If they don’t have a license, how are they still open?
Please write to:
Hudson Reporter Associates, L.P.
1400 Washington Street
PO Box 3069
Hoboken, NJ 07030
Attn: Letters to the Editor
The Jersey Journal
Star-Ledger letters must not exceed more than 200 words. All submissions must include the writer’s name, address and phone number. Address and phone numbers are kept confidential. Unsigned submissions will not be used. Calls made to you by the Star-Ledger to verify authorship do not guarantee publication. firstname.lastname@example.org
Action Item 3 – County Prosecutor
The district attorney has thousands of cases referred to his office from local municipalities for action. Even if this matters to the Prosecutor’s office, the charges against HCSPCA Manager Zoe Carbajales may not be noticed for awhile unless we make it float to the top. You need to write the Prosecutor (again, by letter or email). Thank him for taking the case. Tell him how upsetting you find conditions at the shelter and how glad you were to hear that Zoe had been charged. Urge him to please proceed with the charges as soon as possible. Let him know that you will follow up to find out what action has been taken. ONCE YOU HAVE SENT YOUR LETTERS, PLEASE EMAIL HudsonAnimalAdvocates@comcast.net and let us know you have done so. As soon as enough people have emailed us that they have sent letters, we will set up a call day. On that day we will ask each of you who wrote to the Prosecutor’s office to confirm that your letter was received and ask what action is planned. Write to:
Edward J. De Fazio
Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office
595 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07306
The above action items do not address the issues related to Dr. Young. Our retainer with Appleseed is limited to the SPCA, as they need it to be, but we can certainly look into retaining them on that issue as well. Having all the documentation available will help us to achieve that. That woman needs to be removed from her profession as soon as humanly possible. Also, if anyone on this list has ever dealt with her ‘rescue group’ please contact us to recount your experience.
For that matter, if anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact us at HudsonAnimalAdvocates@comcast.net