Potential Cessation of Operations
Recently the NJ Legislature passed a bill that removes the law enforcement responsibilities from the NJSPCA. The bill awaits the signature of the Governor to become law.
While this law deals with the State SPCA, it allows the continued operation of the BCSPCA under the direction of the Burlington County Prosecutors Office.
However, this new legislation does not mention how the BCSPCA will be funded. Fines that are collected from convicted people will now, according to the new law, go to the prosecutor’s office instead of the County SPCA. While the money previously collected and sent to the BCSPCA was used for operational expenses, it was never even enough to cover the cost of renting office space for us. For that reason over the years, the BCSPCA has had to sponsor fundraising events to supplement our operations. Now with fines going to the Prosecutors office instead of the BCSPCA, enough money cannot be generated through fundraising activity to maintain current operating expenses.
Many people that supported this bill, felt that volunteers, such as us, somehow should not be expected to perform the function of investigating and prosecuting neglect and cruelty. They believe that neglect and cruelty calls should be handled by municipal police, ACO’s and ACI’s. All of the functions performed by our law enforcement personnel are done by agents, investigators and officers that spend their own time to pursue abusers. Recently one of our officers spent 16 hours investigating several cases in 2 days. Then spent 4 hours in court where the defendant failed to appear. This is typical of all our law enforcement personnel. For all the efforts by our people, they do this on their own time without compensation.
Municipal police have always been able to enforce NJ’s cruelty statutes. Allowing the SPCA to investigate and prosecute these matters has allowed municipal police to handle calls involving people.
We feel the additional responsibility for municipal police to investigate calls that we would handle, could possibly result in longer delays when checking on the welfare or abuse of animals or responding to a call involving citizens. Any delays in response to a call for police from citizens or to check on the welfare of animals will not be the fault of local police. That is our sincere hope.
The BCSPCA has been dedicated to the animals and concerned citizens of Burlington County.
Unfortunately, without necessary funding, and the new law, the BCSPCA may cease operations shortly and deactivate the SPCA FB page. Thank you for your support. It has been a pleasure to serve you and the animals in Burlington County.
We will notify residents when and if cessation of our operations occurs. At that time it will be necessary for any calls regarding neglect or cruelty to be made to your local police department.
In municipalities without a police department it will be necessary to contact the New Jersey State Police.