Cranford Township Committee Approves Pet Adoption Ordinance Amidst Strong Feedback

Jeff Morton, President of Shake-a-Paw Pet Stores, accused the Humane Society of providing false and misleading information to the Township Committee. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna
The Township Committee approved the ordinance by 2 "yes" votes, 2 "abstain" votes and one absence. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna

CRANFORD, NJ – Public comments grew contentious at Tuesday night’s Cranford Township Committee meeting as the committee approved an ordinance to restrict the sales of dogs and cats.

The ordinance requires that a pet shop may only offer for sale cats and dogs that the pet shop has obtained from an animal care facility or animal rescue organization. Additionally, a pet shop may not offer for sale a dog or cat this is younger than eight weeks old.

As such, a pet shop must maintain records with the name and address of the organization that each animal was obtained from for at least two years following the date of acquisition.

Sign Up for E-News

Although Cranford does not house a pet store that sells dogs and cats, pet store owners from neighboring towns sparred with representatives from the Humane Society and other animal welfare organizations.

According to Jeff Morton, president of Shake-a-Paw pet stores, the data provided by the Humane Society is “filled with lies.”

“In Union County, 290 dogs were euthanized, according to the Humane Society,” Morton said. “The real number of dogs euthanized in Union County is 34. That’s a big difference.”

Morton, who is also a member of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council as well as a Certified Animal Control Officer and Cruelty Investigator by the State of New Jersey, said the ordinance is driven by animal activists with a political agenda.

New Jersey already has the strictest regulations in the state when it comes to pet stores, according to Morton. His statements were supported by Cindy Knowles, owner of Furrylicious Pet Salon & Boutique. According to Knowles, the state did not pass the ordinance, so the Humane Society is going from town to town.

On the opposing side, representatives from the Humane Society claim that Morton and Knowles do not tell the whole story and take dogs from breeders who do not care about the welfare of their animals.

“Legitimate pet stores do not want to sell dogs and cats that come from breeders,” Larry Cohen from the Humane Society argued. “Mr. Morton wants to bring up numbers. He does not want to add that after the Pet Protection Act was enabled, the state went out and inspected the pet stores to see if they were in compliance. 26 of them were not, including his. He signed a consent agreement for a fine for not following that law.”

Commissioner Ann Dooley asked for a clarification of the data from Cohen. Cohen said he only had information from 2015.

“I don’t know who to believe here,” Dooley said. “I cannot vote to enact a law based upon such widely divergent data and important facts, no matter how noble the cause.”

Others against the ordinance told the township committee that there are too many regulations put in place that make it nearly impossible to adopt a pet and that doing so prevents them from owning their desired breed.

“I work very hard trying to get a lot of dogs and cats adopted and it’s virtually impossible,” Denise Archer, who works in the veterinary field, said. “You can’t tell someone that they cannot buy the dog of their choice because there are people that don’t agree with it, and that’s what’s happening in this country. Everybody’s telling us what we can and cannot do. They [Morton and Knowles] have a business. If they’re doing something wrong and it’s a violation, then you get inspectors in there. Don’t take someone’s livelihood away because you don’t agree.”

The ordinance ultimately passed, with Dooley and Deputy Mayor Patrick Giblin abstaining. Mayor Thomas Hannen Jr. and Commissioner Mary O’Connor voted yes, and Commissioner Andis Kalnins was absent.

“I must tell you that I am very, very concerned about how different organizations have made adopting a dog almost out of reach with inspections that the adopting agencies have now put in place,” Hannen said. “I am going to support this ordinance reluctantly, but I have to tell you people that you’ve got to clean up your act if you want more dogs adopted.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News


Athlete of the Week: Caroline McCaffery and David Bartley

October 17, 2017

CRANFORD, NJ – Following stand-out performance in soccer and cross country, Caroline McCaffery and David Bartley have been chosen as Cranford High School’s Athlete of the Week.

McCaffery, a senior on the varsity soccer team, led the back four defensive line last week, resulting in a 2-1 record for the Cougars.

“I like the competitive spirit and being with my ...

Union Man Convicted on All Charges in 2013 Murder, Dismemberment of Cranford Girlfriend

October 19, 2017

UNION, NJ – A Union man was found guilty on all charges in the case of the murder and dismemberment of his girlfriend nearly four years ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Thomas K. Isenhour announced Wednesday.

The jury convicted Matthew Ballister III, 47, of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree desecration of human remains, third-degree hindering apprehension, and several ...

LaZare: Trump Tax Worst Thing for District 21

October 11, 2017

For District 21, Trump's tax proposal is giving residents twenty thousand reasons to vote Democratic next month.

Trump's tax bill wants to eliminate the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction on Federal taxes. Of all the voting districts in the country, ours will be among the worst hit as residents here on average get $20,000 a year in deductions directly from SALT.

This tax ...

No More Politics as Usual

A first-time candidate running to serve in the General Assembly for the 21st District, I am, quite simply, tired of politics as usual. I believe that with the right leadership, New Jersey can be a beacon of hope amidst a volatile political and economic landscape.

Born and raised in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, I eventually settled in ...

Union County College Foundation Gala Raised Funds for Student Scholarships

October 21, 2017

CRANFORD – The Union County College Foundation celebrated its Silver Anniversary Scholarship Gala on Oct. 13, 2017, at The Westwood in Garwood, NJ. The event raised more than $240,000 for scholarships for students, which will help further the core mission of the College, to provide students with an affordable, accessible, and quality education.

This year, the Foundation honored Sherry ...

Westfield Area YMCA Announces Fall 2 Session Registration

Registration for the Westfield Area YMCA Fall 2 session program registration begins at 6:00pm on Thursday, Oct. 12 for Full members and at 7:30 a.m., Monday Oct.16 for Basic and Non-Members. The Fall 2 Session runs from Oct. 29 to Dec. 23.

Youth basketball league season is gearing up at the Y with a 3-week pre-season ...

Tips Make Your Home Photo-Ready and Market-Worthy

You’re selling your home, or you’re starting to think about it, but your house hasn’t been updated or painted in years. You want it to look its best before presenting it to prospective buyers, but you don’t know where to begin.

Home Staging Tips
Sprucing up your home can be as simple as adding a new coat of paint, inside and out, or as extensive as interior renovation ...

Cranford Police Blotter: Disorderly Conduct Arrest & More

October 20, 2017

The information provided does not represent the total scope of police activity.  Individuals charged as a result of police investigations are merely an accusation.  All defendants should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

1.  10/06/07 2:18 p.m.

Lenhome Drive

Arrested: Brian Darling, 40, Cranford

Arrested by: Det. William Pietrucha

Charges: Obstructing ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, October 22, 9:00 AM

Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim, Cranford

Rummage Sale


Tue, October 24, 7:00 PM

Parish Community of St. Helen, Westfield

Fourth Annual Union County Day of Prayer

Religions And Spirituality

Paying tribute to 'Shakespeare in Love'

Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey pays tribute to ‘Shakespeare in Love’

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ – Many audiences loved the film version of “Shakespeare in Love,” which won the best picture Academy Award in 1999, with dialogue by Marc Noonan and Tom Stoppard. Adapted by Lee Hall for the stage, much of the dialogue remains. The production has a warmth and ...

Lacey Rzeszowski's Grace, Power, Grit and Determination -- A Winning Formula

October 21, 2017

As the Co-Founder of The North Jersey Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and its Executive Director for more 15 years, a current board member of Trinitas Hospital Foundation, a 30-year breast cancer survivor, and a neighbor to many of you, I am writing to ask for your vote for Lacey Rzeszowski to represent the communities of the 21st Legislative District in the state assembly. 

Not ...