Jersey City Halts Police Settlement Payouts to Focus on Animal Sheltering; Plans Agreement with Guttenberg

Jersey City, New Jersey – The administration of Jersey City has withdrawn resolutions for settlement payouts totaling nearly $3.3 million during Monday’s City Council caucus. Instead, the focus shifted towards discussing animal sheltering. The resolutions were withdrawn to allow for closed discussions on the confidential details of the settlement offers.

Councilman Frank Gilmore from Ward F expressed his concerns about voting on the settlements without closed discussions, and Councilman Richard Boggiano from Ward C supported the idea of a closed session. A tentative plan has been made to hold the closed session before the council’s meeting on February 22, with the resolutions then added to the agenda for the general meeting on the same day.

Another topic of discussion during the meeting was a resolution that aims to establish an agreement with the town of Guttenberg. Under this agreement, the town would provide $11,000 annually to Jersey City in exchange for sharing animal sheltering services. Dr. Lawrence Cyran, Acting Director of Animal Care and Control, presented the resolution to the council and assured them that the shelter’s capacity would not be stretched by the anticipated low volume of animals. Although Jersey City has been collaborating with Guttenberg since the start of the year, they have not received any animals from the town yet, which has a population of around 11,000 people.

Jersey City’s newly taken control of animal control and sheltering has resulted in the spaying and neutering of 86 animals. Currently, there are 37 dogs and 30 cats in the shelter. The department has also handled various public complaints about dogs and cats, 17 cases of animal abandonment, several incidents involving dead animals, four cases of animal bites, and one hoarding case involving 37 cats. Dr. Cyran mentioned that hoarding situations typically accumulate gradually over time, and the procedure for handling them involves spaying and neutering as many animals as possible before they are made available for adoption.

Concerns were raised about the shelter reaching capacity due to excess animals from hoarding cases or from outside city services. Dr. Cyran addressed these concerns by stating that the city collaborates with external rescue organizations to assist with adoptions. Paul Bellan-Boyer, the city health officer, clarified that the contract with Guttenberg only applies to animals mandated by the state, which excludes hoarding situations. Furthermore, there is no designated space solely for Guttenberg at the shelter; space is provided on an as-needed basis. The current capacity of the shelter is approximately 40 dogs.

During the meeting, Councilman Denise Ridley from Ward A asked what would happen if the shelter reaches capacity but a new dog arrives from Jersey City. Bellan-Boyer explained that the shelter would create temporary capacity, although efforts are underway to install additional professional cages and kennels.

The council is set to vote on the contract with Guttenberg during the upcoming regular meeting on Wednesday.