Report Reveals New Details About Linden Animal Shelter

Credits: Kathy Lloyd

LINDEN, NJ – TAP into Roselle/Roselle Park has obtained a report from an inspection conducted by the New Jersey State Department of Health (NJDOH) on July 23 in which 23 violations were found, revealing new details about conditions in the shelter that serves Clark, Roselle, Rahway, Winfield Township and Fanwood.

Linden’s ad hoc Animal Control Committee submitted a press release Tuesday in which it said it proposes to overhaul the facility and its practices. To read that press release, click here.

The borough of Roselle has a contract with the city of Linden for the animal control services at a cost of $34,080 for the year 2014. Roselle Mayor Jamel Holley has said that the town plans to drop its contract with the shelter at the end of the year.

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In addition to dirty conditions and poorly lit, crumbling facilities with holes so large that cats can escape and rats can enter, the report found that few records were kept of efforts to care for sick animals or contact owners of animals brought in. Editor’s note: Graphic details below may not be suitable for some readers.

A portion of records documented that 10 cats had escaped from the facility within a 16-week period. 
Inside the building there was an accumulation of food, fur, dirt and other materials under cat cages, between the filing cabinet and refrigerator, around and behind the utility sink, around and behind the furnace and the base of the wall, and there was a buildup of dirt on the floors in front of the furnace and other areas throughout the facility. There were cobwebs and debris around the wiring that passed through the walls below the ceiling and there were cobwebs and debris around the open bags of food and other items stored in the cat room.

The concrete trenches inside the interior and exterior dog enclosures had settled and were in disrepair. Contaminated and stagnant water and excrement collected in these uncovered trenches and did not progress to the drain and the dogs housed in these enclosures were not protected from contamination, injury and disease transmission from the animal waste and chemicals.

Urine from some of the dog enclosures had streamed into the main walkway.

Feces was not scooped and removed from animal enclosures, but was forced into the drainage trenches with a hose. Particles of feces become airborne when sprayed with a high pressure hose, and large chunks of fecal matter are forced down the trenches toward the drain with the hose, passing each animal enclosure and exposing each animal to the waste material. Animals in adjacent enclosures were not protected from waste material when the feces were sprayed into the trenches.

Animal enclosures were in severe disrepair, with large cracks and chunks of missing concrete in the flooring, around expansion joints, in the walls of the dog enclosures, and in the areas around the guillotine doors. The surfaces of these enclosures were not impervious to moisture and there was a strong odor of urine and animal waste that had permeated these concrete and cinder block surfaces. The odor remained even after the surfaces had been doused with a 1:1 ratio of bleach to water.

The supervising veterinarian for the facility was said to be Dr. Shukla of the Rahway Animal Hospital, but there was no documentation available at the facility to indicate that a disease control and health care program had been established and was being maintained under the direction of a supervising veterinarian at the facility.
Records indicated that numerous animals that were impounded by Linden Animal Control Officers were not being held for the required seven-day holding period before being euthanized, transferred or adopted.

One record indicated that a dog picked up in Roselle had been hit by a car and was transported to the Rahway Animal Hospital. The record stated “Has tags etc.- Newark,” but there were no records available to indicate that the information obtained from the tags was traced in an attempt to locate and notify the owner as to the whereabouts of the animal as required.

A small number of records available in the office of the Health Department have the words “no chip” written on the ticket indicating that some animals had been scanned when they arrived at the facility, but the majority of records do not have this information. There were no records available to indicate that animals had been scanned again before being adopted, transferred or euthanized.

A document was posted in the office trailer that contained the dosages by weight in pounds of the euthanasia, immobilizing, and tranquilizing agents used at the facility, but these substances and the needles and stethoscope were located near the main entrance to the animal facility and the scale was located in the last animal enclosure at the opposite end of the facility. It was not determined at the time of this inspection where the euthanasia procedures were carried out.

One dog was said to have been prescribed Panacur (prescription brand of Fenbendazole) by a local veterinarian for the treatment of roundworms and Giardia. There were no records documenting that this medication had been administered, when it may have been administered and by whom it may have been administered. This dog was also prescribed a feeding regimen by the veterinarian. There were no treatment records available on the premises to document that this dog had been fed as instructed.

The same dog was displaying signs of stress—pacing from side to side and was snapping at the dogs housed on either side of her enclosure. She was not provided with any means of stress relief, such as separation or barriers to prevent the direct view of other dogs, soft bedding, and a clean, dry environment, free from the strong odor of urine and the scent of other bodily secretions that had permeated the porous concrete in the dog enclosures.

The facility did not have an isolation room to separate animals with signs of a communicable disease and there were no procedures in place to control the dissemination of disease.

To read our earlier story about the Linden Animal Shelter, click here.

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