On Friday, August 8, 2014, Western Monmouth Animal Control appeared in Monmouth County Superior Court and signed a written policy requiring it to hold impounded animals for 7 days pursuant to state statute. The policy document was signed to settle a lawsuit brought by Dante DiPirro, Esq., on behalf of Stuart Goldman, the former chief enforcement officer of the Monmouth County SPCA.
Under the policy, animal control will comply with a state statute that requires impounded animals to be held for 7 days so that there is an opportunity for: owners to reclaim their pets; stray animals to be adopted; and surveillance for possible rabies to be conducted.
Previous to this litigation, two of Goldman’s cats were killed when they got loose and were immediately euthanized by animal control before he could reclaim them pursuant to the 7-day hold. In this suit, Goldman alleged that over 30 cats — many with no health issue whatsoever– had been immediately euthanized in violation of law as soon as they were picked up.
A trial, documents admitted into evidence established that all the animals were euthanized before 7 days, and an SPCA investigator testified that there was an agreement in place between animal control and its contract veterinarian to euthanize stray cats upon impoundment.
The policy signed Friday not only requires Western Monmouth Animal Control to comply with the seven-day hold, but to affirmatively notify it’s veterinarians of their obligation to comply with the law as well.
Western Monmouth Animal Control consists of Manalapan Township’s health officer and animal control officers. The neighboring municipalities of Freehold Township, Freehold Borough and Millstone Township pay Manalapan Township to provide animal control for their municipalities as well, as part of a regional municipal services agreement.
About the settlement, Goldman said, “So that my cats would not die in vain, I have fought in court for the past five years to get animal control to comply with the 7-day hold law. I am very happy that there is now a written policy in place requiring them to follow the law.”
Dante DiPirro, Esq. has a specialty in animal law, served on the Governor’s Animal Welfare Taskforce, and represents animal rescue groups, non-profit organizations and individuals on animal matters.