JERSEY CITY (PIX11) – After nearly 20 years, the City of Jersey City has terminated its contract to provide animal control services to Liberty Humane Society beginning Oct. 31.  

The shelter has over 150 animals in desperate need of forever homes. Only some animals will be transferred to off-site foster care.  

To facilitate the immediate adoption of as many animals as possible, Liberty Humane Society will be waiving fees on all large dogs of 40 lbs. as well as adult cats from Saturday through Oct. 28. 

The Humane Society is also asking other rescue groups that can help with a large number of cats or dogs to contact to discuss placement options.  

Stipends are available to rescue groups who are willing to take animals most in need. 

The Liberty Humane Society will have to vacate the building by Dec. 31, 2023. Jersey City said there will be a new shelter system put in place.

“We are disappointed to be leaving on these terms. We are profoundly grateful to our community for supporting us for so long, and we very much look forward to continuing to be a force for animal welfare in this area of Hudson County,” said Irene Borngraeber, the director of the Liberty Humane Society.

In a statement posted on the Liberty Humane Society website, representatives wrote that they are focusing on exiting the municipal relationship “with grace” and are saddened by the end of the public-private partnership.

“LHS is also taking this unexpected opportunity to lean into our medical programs and re-envision our role as an animal welfare organization focused on preventative veterinary care,” the statement read. “We are laying the groundwork to open an affordable low cost animal health services facility in Jersey City, as well as relaunch our spay/neuter and wellness services for pet owners in 2024.”

In 2004, the city-owned shelter was created with the Liberty Humane Society operating it out of an old auto garage. 

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop has created a new animal care advisory committee. An office spokesperson said some city departments are already handling concerns and responding to calls.

In a statement released by the Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services, the city said Liberty Humane Society failed to meet its contractual obligations.

“In response to Liberty Humane Society’s continued deficiencies in meeting contractual obligations to provide adequate animal control services, coupled with the increasing amount of public complaints and LHS’s unresponsiveness and disregard for the city’s and the public’s concerns. Mayor Steven Fulop has moved to absorb animal control services in-house under our Department of Health & Human Services to ensure humane treatment for all animals and adequate enforcement of animal control laws to support public health and safety.
The people and animals of Jersey City need and deserve responsive and reliable services, and the city will ensure that these are in place. Our Health Department and DPW have already been performing some vital services to fill gaps. With LHS’s announcement they are closing their shelter, the city is actively working to ensure that we will have shelter services in place. We are committed to working with LHS for a smooth transition, and we will be ready on Jan. 1.”

Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services

Matthew Euzarraga is a multimedia journalist from El Paso, Texas. He has covered local news and LGBTQIA topics in the New York City Metro area since 2021. He joined the PIX11 Digital team in 2023. You can see more of his work here.