Tough times affect South Orange no-kill animal shelter

The current economic climate has left the Jersey Animal Coalition struggling to find volunteers.

The Jersey Animal Coalition is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that was founded in 1989 by Ruth Perlmutter.

“There was nothing in our town for the animals and they were shipped elsewhere,” Perlmutter said. “There was a void here, so we filled the void.”

After many years of raising money, the Jersey Animal Coalition opened their shelter in the Village of South Orange in July 2005.

The shelter’s first responsibility to take in animals from Maplewood and South Orange, but after that they can take animals from other areas, according to Perlmutter.

“We are taking more than we can, but you see them and can’t say no,” Perlmutter said. “Every animal deserves a chance.”

Animals were once boarded at local veterinarians’ offices.

“You have to wait seven days before an animal can be euthanized,” Perlmutter said. “We had to pay vets for boarding so that they wouldn’t euthanize them.”

According to Perlmutter, money is the blood that keeps them alive, and running the shelter is a major expense.

“You pay to take care of them,” Perlmutter said. “Medical expenses are the hardest thing.”

A lack of money and time has adversely affected everything from adoption to volunteer efforts, according to volunteer, Alina Bykovtseva-Mora.

“People do not adopt animals because it requires additional expenses, they do not donate as much money as they used to, and people prefer to spend an extra hour at a paid job rather than volunteer,” Bykovtseva-Mora said.

Bykovtseva-Mora became involved with the shelter through her principles of management course here at Seton Hall.

She works with her team members and classmates Matthew Ashare, Michael Seeback, Nicholas Girault and Yolesda Masse, to increase awareness of the organization and increase the number of volunteers, according to Bykovtseva-Mora.

The team, which calls themselves Team Zeta, is currently organizing a fundraising event that will give all proceeds to the Jersey Animal Coalition.

“There can never be enough help for a non-profit organization,” Girault said.

The Jersey Animal Coalition Shelter is always in need of more volunteers, according to Perlmutter.

“The more volunteers we can find, the better the organization is going to be,” Bykovtseva-Mora said. “Animals, especially dogs, require a lot of work.”

According to the Jersey Animal Coalition’s website, their mission is to save lives. Since their founding, the Jersey Animal Coalition has saved over 6,500 stray or abandoned pets.

“With the help of volunteers and the continuation of the belief that all stray animals should have a home, the Jersey Animal Coalition will continue to succeed in their mission of helping all stray animals,” Girault said.

Students can get involved with the Jersey Animal Coalition by contacting the shelter or e-mailing Alina Bykovtseva-Mora.

Ashley Duvall can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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