HAWTHORNE, NJ – The Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders, in conjunction with the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office and Friends of Passaic County Parks, Inc. hosted the second annual “Paws in the Park” on Saturday, October 7, in Goffle Brook Park.

In 2016, the first “Paws in the Park” raised sufficient money to update the Passaic County K-9 memorial, at the time missing the names of some 43 police dogs which had fallen in the line of duty.  The memorial was unveiled on Wednesday, September 20.  With that goal having been met, the objective of the 2017 “Paws in the Park” was to see that each K-9 officer is provided with a protective bullet-proof vest.

Pet owners as well as prospective-owners found resources as well as entertainment in the sunny and verdant expanse alongside the dry streambed which lends its name to the park.  Face painters, raffles, and pet psychics were among the diversions for the human participants, while the four-legged stars from the Passaic County SPCA and Sheriff’s K-9 unit demonstrated their skills to the onlookers. 

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Dr. Gordon of the Oakland Animal Hospital administered microchips to pets for those so inclined.  The microchips were supplied by “Home Again” with a waived registration fee for the first year, normally a charge of $20 annually.  At noon, Father Mark from St. John’s in Paterson conducted a blessing of the animals.

“We are excited to kick-off our second annual Paws in the Park. Last year’s event was a monumental success, and we are excited to offer a bigger and better event this year,” said Freeholder Director Sandi Lazzara. “Every year, Paws in the Park re-affirms the county’s commitment to advocate for homeless pets who do not have a voice.”

Paws in the Park was sponsored by several local entities, among them TD Bank, Aton Consulting, PBA Local 286, United Federated Systems, Columbia Bank, LAN Associates, Dover Brake & Clutch Company, Shotmeyer Brothers, and the Railroad Construction Company.

"I want to thank the Passaic County Freeholders for sponsoring the Paws in the Park program,” said Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik.  "The Sheriff's Office K-9 Division will use the funds raised from the program to help with expenses that help support the important function of the unit. The K-9 Unit is one of the first lines of defense in our battle against drugs and violence."

As an extension of this event, the Freeholders are offering Memorial Bricks for sale which will also benefit the Sheriff’s K-9 Division.  These will be placed around the current K-9 Memorial at Lambert’s Castle and will grow the Memorial Pet Garden.  Further information regarding Memorial Bricks can be found at www.passaiccountynj.org/PawsinthePark