July Cover Story-Hudson County Cats and Dogs


…Friendly Homes Needed
By Tom Dwyer

 It’s a dog’s life…and a cat’s life too for that matter …here in Hudson County.  Over the last decade, a whole new industry dedicated to pet comfort has sprung up: a boutique industry of dog and cat spas, professional dog walkers, holistic veterinarians, and even a special Mass in Hoboken that bestows yearly blessings on pets. But for every lucky pet that has a home, there are still those unfortunate creatures living on the street or in a shelter.   Thankfully many Hudson County shelters and animal lovers are working hard to make sure every home finds the pet that’s right for them.  It’s not just good for the animals; after all, it’s a medical fact that having a pet is good for one’s body and spirit.      

Tragedy Not To Be Repeated
 On June 20th a grisly discovery was made when 15 animal carcasses were found in an unplugged freezer in the recently closed Hudson County SPCA located on Johnson Street in Jersey City.  This horror not only took the lives of innocent animals, it also cast a shadow on other well-run organizations that care for animals in Hudson County, including two of the most respected, the Hudson County Animal League www.hcalnj.org  and the Liberty Animal Shelter www.libertyanimalshelterpetfinder.org  both located in Jersey City.  Aurora Piacenpino, the manager of the Liberty Animal Shelter, admits that the incident at the SPCA shelter initially damaged the reputation of other shelters. “A lot of the public is unclear exactly which shelter the incident happened in.  And when a story like this comes to light it makes our job harder. But in respect to this SPCA incident we have had an overwhelming positive response from the public with donations and adopting pets—a huge response.”  

The Liberty Shelter has a very strong outreach program in the community and can be found most week-ends sponsoring adopt-a-pet events at local venues and in stores like PetSmart.  “A person looking for an animal to bring home would be surprised at the variety of animals we have at the shelter. We have all breeds of dogs, large and small, short and long hair kittens and adult cats…there is something for everyone,” Ms. Piacenpino assured.  Another important job the Liberty Shelter has taken on is working with the public to capture feral cats (or wild cats), of which there are many in Hudson County.  Liberty Shelter offers a Catch and Release program which rents traps and offers a low cost spay/neuter program.  The shelter tends to fifty feral cats a month.
  The Hudson County Animal League is another well-regarded organization that finds loving homes for stray animals.  They also offer innovative programs like their feline adoption program for seniors, and a spay/neuter/release program for feral cats. Sharlene Devaney, the director of the Hudson County Animal League, was horrified by the recent incident at the SPCA shelter and has taken in a number of the animals rescued from that facility.  “We have been going after that SPCA shelter for over 15 years, for what we believed to be violations. Our organization, HCAL, is a non-profit and we have been around since 1964. We run a host of events around Hudson County to promote adoption of our animals. And every weekend we go to PetSmart in Secaucus; PetSmart sells pet products, not animals. We take some of our animals there to hopefully find them a home. ”
Here in Hudson County, these animal shelters along with others are taking part in a new Disaster Planning Program run by the Hudson County Disaster Response Team, part of the Office of Emergency Management.  In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the loss of many beloved animals, new focus has been put on saving animals during emergency situations.   Some pointers from the Disaster Response Team: If a disaster happens in your town and you need to evacuate your home, do not leave your animal there thinking you will return to get them. If an area has been deemed unsafe for humans—it’s unsafe for pets. Always have proper ID and a recent photo of your pet, and plan ahead for a safe place for you and your pet to go if necessary.  For more information on this program go to the Hudson County Animal League website.

Living the Good Life
If you’re one of those lucky pets that already have a safe loving home in Hudson County, then you’re in the right place, because local pet owners are spending big bucks on their pets.   Like on services found at Dog Gone Bizzy, an alternative to kennel boarding — your pet stays at home and Dog Gone Bizzy shows up to tend to your pet when you’re away.  This company serves Hoboken, Jersey City and Weehawken. http://doggonebizzy.com  Another highly recommended pet service is the Village Paw Spa, an in-home pet grooming service.  Theresa, the owner, is one of the most experienced and respected holistic pet practioners in the country, and has appeared on Animal Planet. She makes house calls in Hoboken, Jersey City and Manhattan. www.petgroomnewyork.com  And if your pet needs a doctor, Hudson County also offers several excellent animal hospitals and veterinarians. A few that get high marks are the Hoboken Animal Hospital located on Washington Street. They’ve been treating animals for decades and treat other pets besides dogs and cats. www.hobokenvet.com  In Jersey City, The Jersey City Animal Hospital, which has been around since the 1940’s, has an excellent reputation, and recently renovated its facilities. http://jerseycityvet.com.  And in Bayonne, Dr. Kris Mammas and Dr. Paul Sirny have their practice in the Bayonne Veterinary Medical Building. Their patients give them two paws up.  They can be reached at 201-437-0100.
And if you want to do something special for your pet, take them to the Blessing of the Animals Mass officiated by Father Mike at St. Francis Church in Hoboken on October 4th.  Hundreds of pets of all colors and sizes show up with their owners to be blessed.  It’s an event not to be missed.  I know my wife, Susan, and I will be there this year with the two stray kittens we recently adopted, Leo and Libby. They have brought a happiness into our home we haven’t felt since our two, very old cats, Cagney and Lacey, passed on.


One thought on “July Cover Story-Hudson County Cats and Dogs”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.