Liberty Humane Society sheltered Jersey City’s cats and dogs for nearly 20 years at its 235 Jersey City Boulevard location until the city took over management this year.

According to a statement from the Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services, Mayor Steven Fulop decided to absorb the shelter’s services because of inadequate services, increasing public complaints and disregard for the city’s concerns. 

Trouble At Liberty Humane Society

Problems have come to light in the past couple of years regarding management at the facility.

As early as last year, potential adopters were not allowed to have in-person meetings, but interacted with any animals they were interested in over Zoom because of COVID-19 protocols still in place. Nearby animal rescues such as Final Hope Animal Rescue in Jersey City and New Jersey Humane Society in West New York have made visits possible since the pandemic when many shelters did not fit social distancing mandates

Visitors can currently walk right into the Jersey City animal shelter and take a peek at the furry friends. 

Volunteers also had problems with Liberty Humane Society in the past.

According to the Jersey City Times, multiple volunteers over the years were banned from the shelter for violating unwritten guidelines. Incidents of banning included bringing in too many cats at once for treatment and working with other organizations. 

(Emma Ferschweiler / SOC Images)

“By bringing these services in-house, we can have longer operating hours to encourage more adoptions and on-the-spot dog licensing, among other improvements, to ensure all animals and pet owners get the quality, compassionate care they deserve,” Fulop said. 

Can I Still Adopt?

235 Jersey City Boulevard has always been government-owned, though the Humane Society solely employed operations on a contractual basis.

The city officially decided to end these ties on Oct. 2 and terminate less than five weeks later their agreement and Jersey City would assume control of the building at the end of the year. 

Anybody walking into the building would not assume any changes have taken place. Sarah Casanova, a Jersey City resident who passes by the shelter at least three times a week, said she wasn’t aware it had reopened because there was no major announcement or activity happening at the shelter. 

Casanova is curious to see what the new management will do to help these animals. 

“The main thing I hope will be accomplished is increased funding to the shelter so they can have a more stable staff with more capacity to take care of themselves and the animals. As a city, we should be reallocating the funds spent on police and putting it toward community programs, so hopefully they actually do that,” she expressed. 

The shelter currently offers a wide selection of cats and dogs powered by volunteers and staff members. Since taking over the shelter, the city has taken in 48 dogs, 39 cats and completed seven adoptions. 

“Our team is working hard to transition animal control services to in-house and train new and existing employees as we prioritize our community’s public health and safety,” Department Director of Health and Human Services Stacey Flanagan told Slice of Culture.

There are reportedly 22 paid staffers with five animal control officers who run the shelter off a budgeted $1.6 million; the shelter is very big on taking in any volunteers. A number of local police officers have been trained to investigate and prosecute animal cruelty cases. 

Flanagan previously stated that the city will now ensure that “we respond to residents,” which was an issue that residents previously raised concerns about.

There are still traces of Liberty Humane Society left at the building.

The organization turned a once dilapidated auto garage into a fully functioning animal care facility with their personal touch. One of the most notable features they added was a colorful mural of cats and dogs with Liberty Humane Society displayed proudly in bold letters.

(Emma Ferschweiler / SOC Images)

While the old name has since been painted over, the original design still stands. 

This is not the last time people will see Liberty Humane Society.

Operations moved to Newark where the organization runs mobile spay/neuter and veterinary services on a traveling truck. As of now, these resources are only available to cats but will potentially expand to other animals. 

Hoboken’s Liberty Health Society also closed at the end of last year. Plans for this location are still unknown but a merger between the two cities is a possibility.

As for Jersey City, aspiring pet owners can call 201-547-5700 for shelter services and adoption needs. They are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Appointments are encouraged.

Residents may also call 201-547-4888 for any animal control and response needs. For more information, visit the city’s division of animal care & control.

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