LIVINGSTON, NJ — Thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Friends of the Livingston Animal Shelter and a $55,000 donation presented by the Ralph Errington Charitabe Foundation (RECF), a brand new Livingston Animal Control van, christened the “Errington Express,” was officially revealed on Tuesday.
Following two successful Livingston Pet Expos hosted by the Friends of the Livingston Animal Shelter, Terry Zuckerman, co-trustee of the RECF, was inspired to present the committee with the check in July 2016. In addition to sending local kids to the Turtle Back Zoo summer camp and other programs last summer, the trustees carefully selected the Livingston Animal Shelter as a worthy recipient of a portion of funds entrusted to them by Ralph Errington when he died.
With the new van, Jim Salvadore of the animal control unit said members of Livingston Animal Control will now be able to do their jobs properly. The van not only has proper cages for several different species as well as air condition and heat control, but it will also help with the TNR (trap-neuter-release) program, which was implemented in 2015 to take care of the stray and feral cats in order to stabilize the population within the township.
“The old truck was just a glass box and on a 70-degree day it would be over 100 degrees inside the back of that truck and it wasn’t good for the animals,” said Salvadore. “The main goals right now are keeping the animals safe in Livingston and doing the TNR program properly.”
Livingston Councilman Al Anthony, who represented the council at the official reveal on Tuesday at Livingston Police Headquarters, said the new van has been nearly 20 years in the making ant that the township is looking forward to many years with it.
“The truck is beautiful, it was a long time coming,” said Anthony. “I want to thank Errington and I want to thank the volunteer committee, because that’s how things get done in Livingston.
Noting that the old truck is from the late 90s, Anthony added that the new truck “state-of-the-art” and that it is “going to allow our animal control to do their job and to do it well.”
At the Livingston Pet Expos held over the last couple years, the table collecting donations and providing information about the Livingston Animal Shelter was the most crowded, according to Anthony.
“A few people started it, but then they had a tremendous amount of grassroots help that people wanted to fix up the animal shelter,” he said. “They saw it as an opportunity to fix up something that really needed a lot of help. It just snowballed—they raised money and awareness and before you know it, something that was really in need of repair became open for business for even other towns.”
Anthony, who was mayor at the time of the $55,000 donation toward the new van, said the council saw this as a unique opportunity to save taxpayer dollars by reaching out to other towns for shared services. With South Orange on board and donors helping out as well, the Township of Livingston is now a leader in sheltering animals.
“When people volunteer and help out in town, it allows our council and mayor to go talk with other towns and find unique opportunities to save taxpayer dollars,” he said. “That’s what this has resulted in. I was able to speak with South Orange and other towns where we can now be a leader in animal sheltering and receive revenue in town.”
Pictured above, Alan Karpas of the Friends of the Livingston Animal Shelter officially passes the keys over to the township and announces that it is ready for use.