Monday, December 21, 2009

'Shelter' in name only?

After last Wednesday's rally for the Trenton Animal Shelter, did anything there change for the better? A few dozen animal advocates, led by longtime volunteers at the shelter – which they say is understaffed and in deplorable condition – had marched and chanted in front of City Hall at noon.

Demonstrators spoke of the need to fill vacancies for animal control officers (ACOs) at the shelter and the growing need for volunteers to do some of the work that paid employees would ordinarily do. They cited animals without water and dirty litter boxes.

In a written response, the city’s director for health and human services denied, point by point, the accuracy of the protesters’ claims. Another city official disputed the argument that the $75,000 to be paid to a consultant could instead go to hiring three ACOs.

One city councilman (Manny Segura, at-large), reportedly the only city rep at the protest, had visited the shelter. He found people sharing a closet as an office and described as “terrible” that “there’s not even enough space for the animals.” He said other city council members have ignored his reports.

Segura advised the protesters to bring their message to a city council meeting, and one of the demonstrators’ leaders said they’ll return “next month” if conditions don’t improve.

As usual, the animals are in the middle, unable to speak for themselves about the living conditions at the Trenton shelter. How and when can this situation be improved?

1 comment:

Kristina said...

I was one of the organizers of the protest for hiring more personnel at the Trenton Animal Shelter. First of all, thank you for "reporting" on it. Second, apparently things are moving. I've heard from 2 or 3 sources that the city is interviewing for two new Animal Control Officers. Also, Trenton has at least 2 city council members in Trenton who are big animal (and people) supporters - Mr. Manny Segura and Mr. George Muschal. These 2 councilmen have already gone "to bat" for the shelter and rumor has it that Mr. Segura may make a run for Mayor this year. If that happens, the shelter should FINALLY have the full support of City Hall. The volunteers have offered to raise money to improve (or move) the building to a new site and with someone like Mr. Segura in office, our ideas may be welcome. If you are a resident or a city worker in Trenton, understand this! This is America - you are still FREE to protest, demonstrate and organize for your ideas. As a matter of fact, when you apply for a permit to demonstrate, the city must provide you with a podium and microphone - since we the taxpayers bought these supplies for our elected officials and thereby must have access to them. If you keep a peaceful demonstration, you cannot be arrested or harrassed. The city of Trenton as it is right now (in my opinion) does NOT represent "the people". And the unions representing the workers are even worse. They could care less - you need to fight for everything you want. So use your Constitutional rights. We did and we are hearing only positive feedback from everyone involved. Signed, Kristina Wetzel - Trenton Animal Shelter Volunteer.