Giving Back

Tricky Tray to Save Homeless Animals Amasses Great Success


EAST HANOVER, NJ- If you are a dog or cat lover and live in Hanover Township, you have heard of the Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter. They were recently in the news for saving several puppies from the (now closed) Just Pups store in East Hanover. Now, they recently held their seventh annual tricky tray at the Knoll West Country Club in Parsippany on April 28, 2017.

Beginning in 1972, Mt. Pleasant started out as the West Essex Animal Welfare League in Caldwell, NJ. About six or seven years later, they merged with the Montclair Animal Welfare League to create Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter. At this time, they also moved out of Caldwell to East Hanover. By 1987, a new building was built for them, which is their current home behind the PetSmart off of Route 10.

Fast forward almost forty years later; Mt. Pleasant hosts their very first tricky tray event. According to Abby Berenbak, the Executive Director at Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter, it all started when her predecessor, Suzanne, did a couple of them for another organization and decided to give it a try at Mt. Pleasant, as well. She was able to bring over some ideas, donors and attendees, and from there it grew with the help of Marcy Poquette. She is the Development Assistant at Mt. Pleasant and, for the past seven years, has made sure that the event has been a success.

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The tricky tray first started at the American Legion in Whippany, but three years ago, they moved to the Knoll West Country Club.

Berenbak stated, “They were wonderful and we loved being there, but…the event kind of outgrew the space.”

She isn’t kidding when she said that they “outgrew the space”. This year they had over five hundred guests in attendance; their largest number so far!

This year, they also had over two hundred and fifty baskets to give away. Berenbak expressed that all the prizes in the baskets are donations, donations from local and not-so- local businesses and donations from people. There were even donations from board members. Some were lucky on Friday night to take one of those baskets home and some weren’t as lucky.

Berenbak described her position at Mt. Pleasant as “keeping the future in mind and helping Mt. Pleasant grow and be able to save more lives and make a bigger difference in the lives of homeless animals and the community over the coming years.”

Thankfully, Berenbak reported that this year has been their biggest, as they brought in more money than any of the past years.

If you are interested in donating anything for the tricky tray next year, want to learning more about Mt. Pleasant, or become a sponsor or vendor at their next event, Mutts Mania (being held in September), you can e-mail Abby Berenbak at

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