The Closing of Liberty Humane Society
Located behind Liberty Science Center, beside a ramp to the turnpike, lies 235 Jersey City Blvd. It is a small, brightly colored building that is easily missed. For almost two decades, this has been the location of Liberty Humane Society. Liberty Humane has provided animal control, pet surrenders and adoptions for multiple species, TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release for feral cats) services, as well as low-cost clinics for pet owners struggling to afford traditional veterinarians. Since 2004 LHS has been a staple in Jersey City, Hoboken, and Bayonne communities for pet lovers to adopt, donate, or volunteer.
However, that will soon change. On October 18, 2023, Jersey City animal lovers opened their social media accounts to find a shocking announcement. Liberty Humane Society will no longer be providing animal control or animal sheltering services after the year’s end. This decision was made by the city, who will be taking over all affairs of animal control and sheltering. Without the funds provided by the city for animal control, LHS will be forced to vacate the space on Jersey Blvd. This decision caused an outcry from local animal lovers who insisted they wanted to save this organization, as well as expressing anxiety over how struggling Jersey City animals and pet lovers will be helped in the future. Despite the intense reaction, this decision was final and had been in the works with city officials for some time.
Mayor Fulop’s office reported that he had recommended a county-wide shelter over eight years ago. However, it has been exceptionally challenging to find a facility large enough to accommodate the number animals that are surrendered or picked up in Jersey City. Due to this, and other conflicts with Liberty Humane on issues of animal control, the mayor’s office decided to break their contract. The mayor’s office released this statement on the issue, “the best and most cost-effective option is to move the services in-house, utilizing existing qualified employees and expanding operations to include more onsite hours, volunteer programming, onsite licensing, a pet pantry, and other veterinary support services.” Currently, the city has employed seasoned animal welfare advocate Darcy Del Castillo to run the new Jersey City Animal Care and Control (JCACC), who has already begun trying to make contacts with other rescue organizations on social media to support the animals of Jersey City.
For the remainder of 2023, LHS and their loyal volunteers and supporters have been scrambling to find homes and/or rescue placements for their remaining animals before the facility closes. Though they have not been specific in their plans, Liberty Humane expressed goals of continuing their mission to help the pets and pet owners of Jersey City. As stated in their October 18th announcement, they are “laying the groundwork to open an affordable low cost animal health services facility,” and relaunch their spay/neuter and wellness services.
Though the future may still be uncertain, what remains is the passion for animals in this city. As the chapter of Liberty Humane Society closes, the animal loving community will continue coming together to help the remaining animals find homes, and work to create a better state of animal welfare for Jersey City and the surrounding townships.