To the Editor:

The election for mayor and township council is fast approaching, and as we enter the campaign’s final days, I thought it might be a nice idea to relate to you a positive experience I had with one of the candidates for mayor, Matthew Moench.

In 2013, the current mayor sought to hire an organization called Animal Control Solutions, a private company that would have taken over animal control services from the Somerset Regional Animal Shelter. This would have resulted in our shelter shutting its doors for good, with animal control services for our township outsourced to an organization that would not provide the extensive services of Somerset Regional. In addition, we would have lost the rapid response time that comes with having a shelter here in town. For many of us who know about and appreciate the amazing work the shelter has done over the past several decades, this was an unbelievable and distressing chain of events. Overnight, our town would have gone from having one of the best, most compassionate shelters in New Jersey to having a third party vendor impound stray animals found in Bridgewater at one of several distant holding facilities.

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Luckily, a coalition of concerned residents came together to appeal to the township council to stop this ill-conceived effort to close our shelter. If the council hadn’t listened, the building so many of us know so well would be empty today, and many animals that have been adopted into loving forever homes over the past few years may not have been so fortunate. Matthew Moench was council president during this ordeal, and without his unwavering support, things could have turned out quite differently. He listened to our concerns, (which seems like such a simple thing, but can be so rare for elected officials), and worked with his colleagues on the township council to give the shelter and its supporters the tools necessary for continued success. I know several staff members at Somerset Regional on both a personal and professional level, and we are very fortunate they remain part of our township family.

Since sometimes political campaigns can be defined by negativity, I felt it was important to share this positive story with Bridgewater’s voters.  Those of us who care about animal welfare will always have a friend and advocate in Matthew Moench. His running mates, Michael Kirsh and Timothy Ring, are additional allies in this fight. Tim and his family are involved with The Seeing Eye guide dog charity, and Michael and his family welcomed a new puppy, Lily, into their home earlier this year.

With Matthew as Bridgewater’s mayor and Michael and Timothy on our township’s council, I am confident the future of the Somerset Regional Animal Shelter will be in good hands. I encourage Bridgewater voters to support Moench, Kirsh and Ring for Bridgewater mayor and township council on Nov. 5.


Toni Hoffman