Animal Shelter Lease Pending

This baby squirrel was recently brought to the Toms River Animal Shelter. (Photo courtesy Toms River Animal Shelter)

  TOMS RIVER – The Township Council meeting on April 24 is expected to have the final vote to turn the building over to the county.

  The Council previously introduced an ordinance to forge an agreement with the county. At the next meeting, there will be a public hearing on the ordinance before the Council votes to adopt it.

  The animal control officers who work for the town will continue to do so, since a move to privatize their jobs was tabled.

  Mayor Daniel Rodrick said that the shelter is back to taking in animals after a decision he made to send them to the county shelters.


  This created an ongoing dialogue for the last few months between protestors and the town’s administration about what is best for the animals.

  Protestors said that the county has a higher euthanasia rate than the town. Rodrick noted that the county’s euthanasia rates are higher than a local shelter because they are given a lot of feral cats that can’t be adopted.

  There has not yet been certainty of what will happen with a $1 million donation to the shelter.

  Rodrick said the county wants a dog walk and to improve the shelter with that money.

  Previously, he had talked about spending some money on the shelter. There had been an industrial washer and dryer purchased before he took office that was too big to get in the doors. They were sitting outside when he came to the shelter one day. They needed to spend money to rectify this.

  Phil Brilliant, who speaks out against the mayor on a number of occasions, brought documents that the washer and dryer was delivered in October of 2023 and it cost $3,725 to install it.

  A woman who identified herself as someone who works at the shelter, countered something the mayor had said in the past, when he described a dog chewing through a wall in the shelter. She said that the dog didn’t eat through a wall. It chewed up the layer on its side, but didn’t go through. The dog had just come in, and was stressed, and there was a storm that night. The dog was also an un-neutered male and a female in heat was also recently brought in.

Residents brought signs like this to recent Township Council meetings. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)


  One concern that residents have had was that the county doesn’t receive wildlife.

  Recently, the shelter posted a story about a baby squirrel that was following someone around looking for some attention and food. “This kind citizen knew that they couldn’t abandon this sweetheart and called the shelter for some help,” the shelter posted. “Thank you so much TR for another wonderful little critter saved thanks to your love!”

  A source from the County Department of Health, which oversees the shelters, confirmed that they only take cats and dogs.

  Animal control officers from other towns know not to bring wildlife to the county and will usually have an arrangement in place to care for a wild animal, he said. The animal control officers also usually have a list of wildlife rehabilitators they can reach out to.

  “In the very rare emergency situation, an animal control officer can bring a sick or dying animal to us – or suspected rabies animal to be humanely euthanized if their vet is unavailable. We will also send out potential rabies specimen to the state for testing,” he said.

  The owner of a Cream Ridge rescue for rabbits said that small animals like rabbits and squirrels need animal control as well, and if the county doesn’t take care of them, who will?

  “Listen to the people on the front lines,” she said, meaning the staff of the shelter. She warned against making decisions without consulting the people who live with the issues day to day.