TRENTON, N.J. – The New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJSPCA) fails to consistently respond to animal cruelty complaints in a timely manner and spends exorbitant sums on legal bills instead of direct care for animals, according to a report released Friday.
The report is based on an investigation conducted by the State Commission of Investigation (SCI), New Jersey’s independent watchdog agency that investigates alleged corruption and other abuses of the public trust.
The SCI found that "it took more than a month for NJSPCA investigators to respond to a complaint involving two Yorkshire terrier puppies covered in motor and oil fleas." The SCI also found it took 36 days for an officer to take action on a complaint about dogs "that were sometimes left unfed or tied up with a rope outside an apartment, and according to the caller making the complaint, in obvious distress."
In response, leaders of the NJSPCA referred to the report as a “hatchet job.”
"The SCI owes the hard working men and women of the NJ SPCA a debt of gratitude for remaining focused on the mission despite all the 'background noise' generated by unsubstantiated claims of wrongdoing," NJSPCA President Steve Shatkin, wrote in a letter to the SCI.
The report also states that the NJSPCA remains a haven for “wannabe” cops, some of whom believe they are free to exercise police powers beyond enforcement of the animal cruelty statutes.
In addition, the NJSPCA “has engaged in and tolerated waste and abuse, conflicts of interest and self‐aggrandizement, and has routinely taken a cavalier approach to financial and operational accountability – all at the expense of unwitting donors and volunteers whose only motivation is to help abused animals,” the report states.
The report – titled “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: New Jersey’s SPCAs 17 Years Later,” is a follow-up to 2000 investigation into the non-profit organization.
“Many of the issues identified by the SCI years ago persist, and in fact, may have even gotten worse,” the new report states.
In the new report, the SCI recommends that the animal-cruelty enforcement role be removed from the SPCAs, and the system be restructured to enforce those laws by placing the responsibility, by statute, within the confines of government.
The commission also recommends that a task force be created to examine issues surrounding animal welfare and protection and to consider the role the SPCAs should play.
To read the full report, CLICK HERE .
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