Charges against infamous Newark animal shelter are ‘not enough,’ critics say

NEWARK, N.J. — From deplorable to downright shocking, conditions at Associated Humane Societies in Newark has drawn ire from the animal welfare community for decades.

Year after year, state inspection reports turned up the same, if not worse, conditions.

Various examples of the apparent neglect was captured in footage exclusively obtained by PIX11.

In wake of highly-publicized state inspection reports, the New Jersey SPCA, the state’s law enforcement agency for animal cruelty, finally moved in and charged the shelter’s executive director Roseann Trezza with eight counts of animal cruelty.

While animal advocates saw the charges as a major victory, insiders did not.

“There were additional charges that could have been written,” Brian Stone, a former SPCA investigator who spent four years with the agency, told PIX11 News.

He reviewed the joint inspection by the City of Newark and the State’s Department of Health on August 22 and doesn’t understand how the agency found only 8 counts.

“There are notations here about cats, sick cats that were also intermingled with healthy cats - that would require additional violations,” Stone noted. “There’s got to be, just what I am looking at here from the August 2017 report – hundreds of violations.”

“We have up to a year to write violations,” Stone added. “Is there a possibility that after seeing this someone may go out and decide oh we may have to write more – absolutely.”

It’s too soon to tell if that will happen.

Trezza was expected to appear in court to answer to those charged Thursday morning, but PIX11 has learned that her court date has been rescheduled to Dec. 19.

Since our PIX11 investigation, according to sources, management at the Newark facility has directed workers not to speak to outsiders about the ongoing problems inside the shelter.

Meanwhile, the New Jersey SPCA is weathering its own storm in wake of a recent damaging report by the State Commission of Investigation that revealed a broken agency with high levels of dysfunction.

The state legislature will soon be voting on a bill that could abolish the agency.

Before that time comes, Stone insists the agency still has a job to do.

“We’re empowered by the state to do the job to protect all the animals in the state not just a select few,” he said. “So you have to go out there and do the job.”

A spokesperson for the NJSPCA would not disclose whether more charges will be filed in this case as it’s still an active investigation.

In response to critics who say more charges should've been pursued, the agency referred us to the penalties these charges carry, which according to them, includes up to an $8,000 fine and 48 months in jail.