NEWARK, NJ — Amid failed inspections and alleged dysfunction, Associated Humane Societies in Newark is pleading for yet another chance.
Attorney Harry Levin, who spoke on behalf of the organization, addressed Newark’s City Council Tuesday, promising to turn the embattled shelter around in wake of bad headlines and animal cruelty charges filed against its executive director Roseann Trezza.
“In all honesty, there should’ve been greater attention on the physical plant and there was none,” Levin told PIX11 News.
An Aug. 22 inspection uncovered horrific conditions at the Newark facility, including animals kept in cramped enclosures, healthy animals being housed with sick ones and many of them getting euthanized before being held the required 7-days after intake.
They’re problems the organization vows to fix.
What’s at stake? A $645,000 contract with the city of Newark, an amount of money the City Council and the city’s Director of Health and Community Wellness Dr. Mark Wade aren’t taking lightly.
“We don’t have an alternative, but that’s for the moment,” Dr. Wade said. “We have a plan that I can’t share now [that] provides an alternative for us.”
Among the highlights of the organization’s so-called action plan is to renovate the facility’s basement into a sick animal ward where animals will get top notch medical treatment.
It’s a far cry from what the space currently serves as, according to a number of workers who tell PIX11 it houses dogs that rarely get exercise, human contact or proper ventilation.
Next week, Trezza will answer to eight counts of animal cruelty in court. The organization's attorney said if she is convicted, she will be forced to resign. Trezza is currently not involved in operational issues and is transitioning into what is being called a “marketing role.”