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Thursday, November 13, 2014

HELMETTA, NJ: LOCAL GOVERNMENT OUT OF CONTROL KILLING PETS / FAILS TO MAINTAIN HUMANE CONDITION

HELMETTA - The Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter was placed under quarantine after being raided by the New Jersey SPCA on Thursday, November 13th... the following includes our initial report (below) with most current updates listed above in red:

UPDATE 2:00PM 11/18/2014 -  FROM BRITTANY B., SISTER OF COUNCILWOMAN YVETTE BRUNO WHO HAS BEEN IN THE SHELTER SINCE THE RAID on 11/13/14:

"I would just like to let you all know the facts of what's really going on at HRSA. Yvette has been working diligently at the shelter every day since the raid from 6:00am-5-7:00pm (sick as a dog mind you) she does not even have time to deal with family issues that are currently happening because she is so dedicated to getting things straight at the shelter. As per the vet situation she has been trying to get Dr. Slade & Dr. Dubowy to work together at the shelter since the health department wants more than one vet there but the Mayor Nancy Martin and her back door bullshit continues. The current vet was at the shelter yesterday from 7:30am-1:30pm, and could not address every animal and thus is why Yvette is trying to get these other 2 vets in so all the animals can get addresses. As per the poor kitty that passed away, please remember the shelter is on quarantine and the animal there are very sick. The reason for the posts of sick animals is because the NJSPCA and Health Dept. told Yvette to take pictures of EVERY animal and post them. Yvette is only following orders from the authority's. As per the Memo, Yvette did not see or authorize that Memo, she did not even know it existed till later yesterday. Again she did not authorize it. She was up till 2:00am talking to everyone she possibly could and sending emails to the Attorney General, Health Dept, NJSPCA, and State Health Dept. to have it addressed immediately. The Health Dept and NJSPCA are furious over this and are working on correcting it. But yet again Nancy Martin and her back door BS. Please know Yvette is honestly and truly working on trying to get things right at the shelter. There is only so much she can do. She is new to all of this and is learning every day. She may be small but she is mighty and she will not rest till this shelter is running correctly. Please please have patients with her, for she is only 1 person fighting an army."

UPDATE 7:15PM 11/16/14 FROM NJSPCA (LAW ENFORCEMENT) -
Helmetta Shelter Update : Sunday 11/16 1930 Hours
NJSPCA (Capt + 4 Officers) and Middlesex County Health Department (Director and two Inspectors) were again at the shelter this afternoon. Discussed the plan being developed to start releasing animals to 501C3 groups this coming week, there will be a form available soon at the shelter and on the HRAS Facebook page that these groups will need to fill out and return. Once the information (including Vet info) is verified (48 Hours) the group will be able to make an appointment to pick up the animals after they have been Vet checked, certified by HRAS Vet and scanned for Microchip. Local community has been awesome with donations of supplies and support for the animals. My observations today......Disease Control Protocols now in place, kennels clean and fresh water (one pup ready any day to give birth), cat areas cages clean, litter boxes clean and fresh water available. There is much work needed at this facility to make this building a safe haven for animals. Six additional cats had been transported to Vet Hospital for medical treatment (none emergency) Today Councilwoman Bruno was the "Acting Shelter Director" Thank you to the Council for the past several days of cooperation and obviously the joint goal is to continue to make improvements, reduce the animal population through adoptions, fosters and rescue groups and to make this shelter a Regional Shelter once again that cares for and nurtures animals as a temporary haven until animals can be adopted / re-homed NOT leave through the BACKDOOR. NJSPCA Veterinarian submitted all findings from Thursday visit to NJSPCA Command Staff early this afternoon. HRAS Vet of Record returns tomorrow to the shelter to continue assessments of every single animal currently at the shelter, hoping to have 100% of the animals checked by mid week. Legal and Criminal Investigation updates will follow..........Capt Yocum

UPDATE 7:00PM 11/16/14 FROM COLLEEN WRONKO:

"As of right now the following agencies and/or individuals have been in the shelter doing investigations: The Attorney Generals Office, NJSPCA, the Middlesex County Board of Health, The NJ State Veterinarian, and the Prosecutors Office.
I at this point, have no more information or updates to give. I don't know anything more now than I did last night when I left the shelter. As far as Captain Yocums comment, I have no doubt that there is something going on somewhere, but where, and whom it's against is anyone's call at this point.
The Shelter is secure, locks and passwords have been changed. No one can get into the building without authorization. And it's my understanding that as of right now, no one can get onto the grounds at all. I believe this is being done for safety purposes.
Until further notice, and until we are aware of what is going on with Mayor Martin, we are going to put all protests on hold. If the situation rectifies itself we will not need to protest, however, if the Mayor remains in office, or the conditions at the shelter become a problem again, we will be protesting.
By the order of the Health Department, we had to move the food into the building behind the Borough Hall. I have been assured, by individuals I trust, that the food will not be touch by anyone. And it is being guarded by the police.
The control substance key has been moved from the shelter to the police department, and is currently locked away. Currently there are no controlled substances in the facility. 
I have been assured that the facility is clean, that the animals are being fed appropriately, that they all have water, and clean litter boxes. The animals have been vetted, and as soon as the health certificates are signed off on, rescues will be able to start pulling. YOU MUST HAVE 501(c)3 paperwork or you can NOT pull."

UPDATE 7:00PM 11/15/14 FROM NJSPCA LAW ENFORCEMENT:


"Saturday NJSPCA and Middlesex County Health Department onsite today at shelter. New Vet of Record for shelter is Dr. Chiosi DVM a respected Sayreville Veterinarian. Vet Tech's from Sayreville Veterinary Hospital onsite at shelter this afternoon and evening. Building security issues being addressed and hopeful that very soon animals can be released to qualified rescues after they are certified disease free. Obviously plan needs to include any animal released to be scanned for microchip and photographed so identity can be verified. Donations from the local community far exceeded the needs of the shelter and the excess donated items have been moved to the Helmetta DPW garages. The Helmetta Shelter is still under Quarantine at this time. Two phone call updates today were held with the Middlesex County Health Department. NJSPCA and the Middlesex County Health Department will be back at the shelter tomorrow. Thank you to the dedicated staff and Director of the Middlesex County Health Department. Discussions will continue with the town of Helmetta on the future management of this facility..........The animals right now remain the priority and moving forward the human issues will be addressed................Should be an interesting week next week. There will also be some BREAKING NEWS very soon about ANOTHER RAID that JUST occurred that is related to the Helmetta Shelter case, can not disclose those details here but will be released in the very near future. -Capt Yocum"

UPDATE 10:00AM 11/15/14 - From Beth inside the Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter:

"Rescues are allowed to come in and pull animals. Please call the shelter directly as we have nor further info on this new development!
As per Councilwoman Bruno's request "We will be allowing rescues to come in and pull! All animals MUST be seen by a vet and then can go to a true rescue. All rescues must bring proof 501C3. My goal is to have some pulled tomorrow!"

ADDITION:  Dr. Dubowy, DVM, has also confirmed that the animals left in the isolation room endured extreme temperature conditions, and prior health assessments / treatment records were discovered "missing" on 11/13/14 when Dr. Dubowy was allowed to re-enter the HRAS.  Dr. Bubowy has stated that his official documentation was not to be found, and NEW records were created.  This would be a clear violation of practice by the shelter (not by Dr. Dubowy).

UPDATE 11:00PM 11/14/14 - www.MyCentralJersey.com reporting the following regarding the newly appointed HRAS Administrator:

An interim shelter administrator and a new veterinarian have been appointed for the Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter, which was placed in quarantine by the Middlesex County Department of Health on Thursday and remained closed Friday as officials mulled potential animal cruelty charges.
Matt Crane, 26, of Edison, will handle the administrative functions of the shelter, Borough Business Administrator Herbert Massa said.
RESUME OF MATT CRANE Pg 1
RESUME OF MATT CRANE Pg 2


Massa, who has resigned from the position as part time business administration, said he did so because he thinks the borough needs "faithful time presence of administration in the borough, with a concentration on the animal shelter."
Massa said the appointment is for 30 days, which will be followed by a review by the governing body.
"I think it's going to change the image of the animal shelter," Mayor Nancy Martin said. "We're looking forward to (Crane) taking over this position."
Martin said Dr. Joseph Chiosi of the Sayrebrook Veterinarian Hospital in Sayreville was appointed the shelter vet.
Michal Cielesz will remain the shelter's director.

UPDATE 9:00PM 11/14/14 -  According to one of the coordinators of REFORM HELMETTA REGIONAL ANIMAL SHELTER, the shelter is now 100% clean, and all animals have been fed.  

On a somber note, we have received confirmed information that  Veterinarian, Dr. Dubowy, has AGAIN been terminated from the Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter by the Mayor (Nancy Martin) or one of her employees... we are attempting to confirm which person actually issued notice of termination of services at this time.

We also have learned that the Spotswood Shoprite, has set up "Donation Bins" at that store location for anyone that wants to make a donation (according to Spotswood Mayor Nicholas Poliseno).  

The NJSPCA has confirmed that temperatures in the isolation room where 4 dogs were rescued was in fact over 100-degrees!  This now confirms initial reports from the scene last night that many have questioned.





UPDATE 3:15PM 11/14/14:  Reports from those on the ground as well as local news outlets indicate the following:
1.  9 Townships that had contracted with Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter have now PULLED their agreements, and are making alternative arrangements to shelter their animals.  Those towns are reportedly Spotswood, Monroe, Milltown, Hazlet, North Brunswick, Marlboro, New Brunswick, Freehold and Millstone.  Spotswood and Monroe had been confirmed as canceling as of yesterday.  

2.  An outpouring of support from the State of NJ residents has been ongoing;  photos of massive food and supply donations have been coming in.  Collen, a local group Activist for the shelter reports that ALL donations are welcome, and needed.  The link for the Facebook page to donate is: REFORM HELMETTA REGIONAL ANIMAL SHELTER.

3. Four dogs, who were reported to be in the isolation unit, have been transferred to other local shelters for treatment and housing.  Videos of the animals showed them to be in capable hands of other Animal Control Officers from Perth Amboy and Woodbridge Township.  The animals appeared to be somewhat frightened but at least in the clips we reviewed, they appeared to be getting the necessary care and housing they need.

UPDATE 12:15PM 11/14/14:  FROM THE NJSPCA (Capt. Yokum) - 
FNN COMMENT: ATTORNEY GENERAL OFFICE IS NOW ON SCENE
"Following the Joint NJSPCA / Middlesex County Health Department Operation / Inspection yesterday. MCHD Director returned to the shelter last night after the Helmetta Council held an Emergency Meeting and took control of the shelter. One of the Council Members has been named Interim Executive Director of the shelter and the Veterinarian (twice fired !! for NO reason) was allowed to return to the shelter with Vet Tech and start treating the sick animals there. Several more animals were removed and sent to Veterinary Clinic for treatment. As we move forward both the NJSPCA and the Middlesex County Health Department will continue to work with the Town of Helmetta to ensure compliance. We are far from the end of this story and there are many things being worked on behind the scenes legally. Please right now continue to focus on the animals involved and allow the NJSPCA and the County Health Department continue their work on the complex legal issues involved. The shelter remains under quarantine so no new animals can arrive and no animals (except those being taken for Vet care) can leave this facility. The cats that passed away yesterday were taken to Trenton for Necropsy and after we have those results we will release information. Also today representative from NJ Attorney General's Office and State Department of Health are at the shelter. I will release more information as things move forward."

UPDATE 10:00AM 11/14/14:  FROM NEWS 12 NJ, WALT KANE REPORTER:

"Massive change in the works at the #Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter. Councilman Christopher Slavicek has been named director of the shelter. Current management remains on staff for now but reports to him. On his orders, vets and political leaders are allowed in to treat animals. Building still closed to general public under quarantine. Helmetta Council met in emergency session to name Slavicek last night. Considering permanent changes. It has jurisdiction and can fix easiest. If it doesn't, I'm hearing NJSPCA is prepared to act. But state's only option, "receivership mode", is essentially a state takeover, a complex process that requires a court ruling and takes time, so town action is greatly preferred. I'll be live later on News 12 New Jersey"

UPDATE 09:00AM 11/14/14:  FROM "LIBBY" INSIDE THE HELMETTA SHELTER -  
"First, CAT AND KITTEN FOOD, dry and wet, more than anything else right now, is needed! Dry kitten food situation is dire. Can be dropped off at the shelter at 58 Main Street, Helmetta, NJ. 

No monetary donations at this time. This is a municipal shelter, a taxpayer-funded facility, not a private shelter run on donations. Let the town cough up funding for their facility. 

A group of 2 vets and their assistants and half a dozen vet techs (and experienced volunteers) worked until the wee hours of the morning.

Dog ISO(LATION) room:

Four dogs with ringworm are doing “okay.” Room was very hot. All four dogs have severe diarrhea, one has bad tapeworm (caused from fleas). Tapeworms were so bad that the vet tech who handled the dog had tapeworms all over her arms.

One dog, a black pit-bull mix, has severe bilateral entropian, a PAINFUL genetic or congenital defect where the eyelids turn inward, causing the eyelashes to constantly rub against the corneas. Dr. Dubowy took this dog into his mobile van and examined him. Surgery is required to correct this.

Cat rooms were deplorable, as expected. Alex Klinger of Carteret Animal League, wrote this: “Scrambling to find any food to no avail. Spotswood Mayor Nick Poliseno was in there at 1 am with us getting hands dirty. Nick went to Spotswood ShopRite too purchase food. After the night manager found out the urgency he donated 10 bags of dry 1 case of wet and 1 case of wet kitten. We fed them very well. Out of respect I'm not posting cat room videos till I confirm ok. Fed 167cats. They are cleaning and scrubbing. HORRIBLE!!!!”

Two wonderful volunteers (Nicole and Nicole) cleaned all the small dog runs. Others were able to clean ¾ of the larger runs working as best they could with the tools that they had.

COSMO, the African Gray parrot is still there, but needs to get out. Helmetta was feeding this exotic bird WILD BIRD SEED!!! He needs a special diets and parrot food is needed today! One of the vet techs cleaned his cage and said his water and food bowls looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in a week! She had nothing to give him but small dog kibble. African Grays NEED a variety of parrot food and veggies and fruit! It is our opinion he will die if left there, and we are requesting a vet sign a waiver to get him out of there. We have been contacted by an experienced Parrot rescuer who will take him if we can spring him from this place.

To all the volunteers, named and unnamed, from this page, the Reform group, Homeless Animal Lifeline, Carteret Animal League, thank you from the bottom of our hearts! "


UPDATE 2AM 11/14/14:  FROM THE MAYOR OF SPOTSWOOD (Surrounding Town from Helmetta) - "I can't say Thank You enough to Spotswood Shoprite and especially the night manager George Koutas. I walked in the store at almost 1am and told him I'm Mayor Nicholas Poliseno from Spotswood and in desperate need of help. The Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter has 167 cats that are dying from starvation and have no food to feed them. To make matters worse it was shut down today by the Middlesex County Health Department. Most cats looked like they haven't eaten in days. George asked how much food can he donate with no hesitation. 10 bags of dry food and 1 case of wet kitten food later, the cats can finally eat. It's caring people like George who didn't hesitate when this stranger came begging at 1am that makes me so Proud to be the Mayor of Spotswood. I also want to thank Senator Linda Greenstein for calling me at 11:30 pm and asking can she come over to HRAS now snd help clean cages. Senator Greenstein has been a huge advocate to reform the HRAS from the start and wanted to come out at midnight to help. That's a true Elected Official, others wouldn't be bothered to help, especially on the level of Senator. I'm proud she is our Senator in Spotswood. I can't Thank the Veterinarian's, Veterinarian Technician's, Animal Rescue Group's and the dozens of people who were their hoping to be able to help. It's a shame it took Lester Jones from the Middlesex County Health Department and the NJSCPA to do something only after News 12 Kane on your side did a multi day segment of the deplorable conditions, dead animals and disease infested place for them to act. I can't understand how you can put your head down at night and sleep."

UPDATE: 01:00AM 11/14/14:  Coleen F.W. who was on scene at the HRAS reported this just now: "PLEASE I AM ASKING EVERYONE....The shelter is in desperate need of cat food. Canned and dry. You can just drop it off at the shelter tomorrow right in front of the door. There was not enough food to feed the animals tonights, and a special thanks to Mayor Nick Poliseno from Spotswood for going to Shop Rite, and a special thank you to the manager of Shop Rite for supplying the shelter with donated food tonight so they had enough to feed all the cats. PLEASE IF YOU CAN, bring cat food to the shelter tomorrow."  This of course leads us to the big question;  WHY IS THERE NOT ENOUGH FOOD AT THIS SHELTER?  It would appear, the claims of animals not being fed, would be accurate based on one day of reporting from the inside.

UPDATE: 11:55PM - Walt Kane (News 12 NJ) reporting that Dr. DuBowy, DVM (Veterinarian) was ultimately allowed in after an "Emergency Council Meeting" was held.  Certain other workers were allowed back in as well, reportedly Councilwoman Bruno was among those allowed to re-enter the facility.

UPDATE: Update, 7:40 PM

From Maria Stanley, Dr. Dubowy's assistant: "four (4) dogs are in the ISOLATION room, and it feels like it's 100 degrees in there, they have no food or water, and they'll probably be dead by morning. None of the animals are being fed or watered tonight." 

From Jen Razzano: Rick Yocum said he "can't do anything about any of them being kicked out of the shelter. It's the decision of the mayor and council members."

Michal (DIRECTOR) and Rich left the building and drove away. 



 


UPDATE 7:40PM - Things are getting strange in the Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter.  According to a trusted source, "Borough Councilwoman Yvette Bruno called the vet and known rescues to come in to assist with the cats in the back rooms. Only vet techs were allowed in. Boro Police Officer Gannon just ordered everyone out of the shelter, including the vet, Dr. Alan Dubowy, his assistant Wendy, a shelter employee, Sandi, and Yvette Bruno, and Jen, on order by the “police director.”  

He said the vet is fired, that he is “no longer employed by the boro.” Not sure what is going on but this means that the animals are not getting any exams or care right now.

The New Jersey SPCA and Middlesex County Health Department raided the facility at 11 a.m. Thursday to conduct an unannounced inspection, after weeks and months of local residents have been creating a stir with protests, video uploads and a recent Kane in Your Corner investigation exposed the conditions alleged by the local residents in two segments broadcast on News 12 NJ.

Large Video Portions Courtesy of: Steve Wronko

Chief Frank Rizzo of NSPCA says that no animals will be allowed in or out of the shelter until the facility is certified by a veterinarian that it is disease-free.  In order to maintain sanitary conditions, all employees and those helping to treat the sick animals in the shelter, workers must use disinfection techniques on their footwear prior to leaving the facility as there have been many identified severely ill animals on-site.
The Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter provides full animal control services for the following towns: Aberdeen, Cranbury, Hazlet, Helmetta, Holmdel, Matawan, Milltown, North Brunswick, Plainsboro, South River and Sayreville. The shelter provides animal impound services for the following towns, which use their own animal control officers: Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Highland Park, Manalapan, Marlboro, Millstone, New Brunswick and South Brunswick.  
Two area Townships / Boroughs recently withdrew their contract with Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter:  Spotswood and Monroe Twp.  Rumors are that several other towns may be seeking alternative Animal Shelter services given the reports broadcast on News 12 NJ and other media outlets.  
In September, the NJSPCA issued a warning to the shelter after citing several violations, including two cases of "failure to supply an animal with necessary care." Some issues, like flooring that is not impervious to water, have been raised in virtually every inspection for the past three years, although inspectors have always given the shelter at least a "conditionally satisfactory" rating, allowing it to remain open.
Those residents who have expressed concern about the conditions of the facility have stated and have photographed or video recorded multiple instances of animal cruelty including multiple large dogs in one cage, dogs/cats being imprisoned in cages covered in their own urine / feces, not being fed for days at a time, outdoor enclosures not being waterproofed or able to be appropriately cleaned, and the allegation of the unlawful killing (euthanasia) of nearly 500 cats and about 65 dogs in 2013.  The shelter, claims to be a "low-kill" shelter, meaning that all measures are put into place to either reunite lost animals with their owners, find foster homes or "forever homes" for misplaced pets.  Many claim that the Shelter rarely makes any attempts to make any reunions with family members, nor keeps appropriate records for the animals upon intake.  Records are not kept for euthanasia which is particularly disturbing given that lethal drugs are being used.
Four dogs and a cat were rushed to an animal hospital following the raid, but two of them did not survive.

TO CONTACT YOUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, HERE ARE THE CONTACTS:

NJ STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL OFFICE / DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE:
DCJ Headquarters
609-984-6500
Report Crime and Corruption
800-277-2427

NJ STATE LEGISLATORS:


District 18


Senate

Senator Peter J. Barnes III (D)
(D)
Senator
Peter J. Barnes III
BORN: April 26, 1956
EDUCATION: B.A. Gettysburg College (Political Science), M.B.A. Fairleigh Dickinson University (Management), J.D. Widener University School of Law
OCCUPATION: Attorney, Law Offices of Peter Barnes
PUBLIC/PARTY SERVICE: Township of Edison Municipal Council 1996-2007, Planning Board 2001-03
LEGISLATIVE SERVICE: Senate 2014-present; General Assembly 2007-13, Majority Whip 2010-13
COMMITTEES: Economic Growth - Vice-Chair;  Budget and Appropriations;  State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation  

3 Stephenville Pkwy., Suite 2D, Edison, NJ 08820
Phone: (732) 548-1406


Assembly

Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. (D) 
(D)
Assemblyman
Patrick J. Diegnan Jr.
BORN:March 19, 1949
EDUCATION: B.A. Seton Hall University (Political Science/Government), J.D. Seton Hall University School of Law
OCCUPATION: Attorney
LEGISLATIVE SERVICE: General Assembly 2002-present, Deputy Speaker 2008-present, Parliamentarian 2006-present
COMMITTEES: Education - Chair;  Consumer Affairs - Vice-Chair;  Regulated Professions  

908 Oak Tree Ave., Unit P, South Plainfield, NJ 07080
Phone: (908) 757-1677
Fax: (908) 757-6841
Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (D) 
(D)
Assemblywoman
Nancy J. Pinkin
BORN:August 4
EDUCATION: A.A.S. Middlesex County College (Applied Science), B.S. Rutgers University, M.P.A. New York University (Public Administration/Health Administration), University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (Health Policy and Research)
OCCUPATION: Health Consultant & Association Management, Pinkin Associates, Inc.
PUBLIC/PARTY SERVICE: East Brunswick Township Council 2005-14, President 2006-08; East Brunswick Planning Board 2005, 2008-09
LEGISLATIVE SERVICE: General Assembly 2014-present
COMMITTEES: Higher Education;  Homeland Security and State Preparedness;  Law and Public Safety  

3 Stephenville Pkwy., Suite 2D, Edison, NJ 08820
Phone: (732) 548-1406

WASHINGTON, DC (CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE / SENATORS)

CONGRESS:  RUSH HOLT   Phone:  (609) 750-9365 (NJ)  /  (202) 225-5801 (Washington, DC)






Booker, Cory A. - (D - NJ)Class II
141 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3224
Contact: www.booker.senate.gov/?p=contact
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Menendez, Robert - (D - NJ)Class I
528 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4744
Contact: menendez.senate.gov/contact/