Winter 2005/06  
  Sarah "Compassion for Camden, Inc. ... to inspire action for animals."   
Compassion for Camden, Inc. - A Humane Society - Est. 1992
http://www.CompassionForCamden.org/
To inspire Action for Animals!
Sarah's Law passes!

A cross-reporting ordinance for the City of Camden, an East Coast first!

The landmark legislation was officially dubbed Sarah's Law and it is being recognized as such in the city's codebooks. Sarah, a dog we rescued in North Camden in October 1992, was the impetus for starting Compassion for Camden. The ordinance will heighten the seriousness of animal abuse. It passed in June 2005.

Modeled after California State law, it will help protect animals and people. Sarah's Law mandates that the city's animal control officers, during their course of business, report signs of potential child/human abuse to police and police officers and fire fighters report signs of potential animal abuse to animal control. To read the ordinance in its entirety, please go to: /crossreportingordinance.html

We based the need for such a law on often trivialized or even entirely ignored cruelty, plus the premise that abusers are likely to lash out to people. In addition to common sense, studies confirm that the link between animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence is real, and often deadly. With that in mind, humane groups like us work tirelessly to influence the community, city hall, police and the municipal court.

Perhaps particularly frustrating was our struggle of trying to motivate city and county law enforcement to investigate and prosecute the sadistic contest of staged dog fighting. Police are well aware that dog fighting is illegal in New Jersey, as it is in all 50 states.

Seemingly unable to move law enforcement, we began attending community meetings. In meeting after meeting, often lasting into the wee hours of the night, we tried to make it clear that dog fighting, or cock fighting, not only involves animal cruelty, but also illegal gambling, guns, drugs and prostitution.

It has come to believe that compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.

~Albert Schweitzer
And, because children of all ages are taken to fights, it constitutes child abuse as well. For the kids this newfound enthusiasm for violence and insensitivity to animal cruelty can easily carry over into daily life, conceivably creating another generation of animal abusers. Often when asked, Camden kids are actually amazed that animal fighting is illegal.

At the same time, no city official ever challenged the concept that animal abusers are also likely to abuse people. For example, it seemed that all were aware of studies by government and other agencies that point to a large percentage of violent inmates around the country with histories of animal abuse. But, we saw little or no action, preventive or otherwise.

When considering all animal neglect and abuse in the city, the worst of it happens out of sight. It's hidden in basements, abandoned buildings and people's living quarters. In almost all of these cases concerned neighbors, or others, may not have any clue, nor access, or perhaps too little to go on to report. It is in this setting that the most suffering occurs, possibly for weeks and even months. It's here and now that animals need protection. But help can often only be provided, or be initiated, by police or fire that happen to be on the scene involving other matters.

Having managed to help put in place an animal care and control department in the city, the time had come to do more. (for more on the new department, see "newsletter" link below) The year 2004 marked the first year in decades, or perhaps ever, for the city's own department staffed with professionals capable to act on police tips. Earlier that year, I went to work drafting an ordinance which was necessary to certify the new department to investigate and to charge potential criminals. I also began researching cross-reporting legislations. Toward the end of the year I presented my final drafts to city officials who scheduled both for passage.

It seems to us that since the passage of Sarah's Law in June 2005 the city's municipal court is taking animal neglect and abuse cases more seriously. We see more dialogue and a higher degree of sentencing. Never before have we heard a judge mention a jail term, as it happened in at least one case. As always, more needs to be done.

- Marion Churchill


All the darkness in the world can't put out the light from one small candle.

President's Notes:

Our website has been up for about six years now. We update the site frequently and add links to many other organizations for those of you wanting to do your own research. None of it seems to be in vain, because we get incredible traffic. Thousands of people log on monthly. Which of course is the whole idea behind the site's headline message: "To inspire Action for Animals".

When looking over our site's detailed weekly reports, we see which sections or pages draw the most interest; or most visitors. We know the time people spend viewing pages, how visitors where referred to us, and so on. Pages for "Adoptions", "Mean Streets" and "Our Rescues" are always heavily visited, as are our pages for "Animal Stories & Poetry". Most everything else from "Ordinances You Can Pass" to "Action Center" relates to issues you can act on. All draw plenty of interest, hopefully translating that we having inspired people to take action.

I think it may sound strange to some who call or email here asking what we need most and I end up saying something like, "... the most important thing you can do to help is to call or write to so and so..."

Our recent request for taking action is listed right here on the back page of this newsletter. On that page we've listed any number of alerts almost every single time we've published for the last 13 years.

Thanks for all YOU do!

-Marion Churchill


On the web:
Courier-Post newspaper article - Activist targets link between child, animal abuse:
http://www.courierpostonline.com/columnists/cxri012005a.htm
and
/newsletters.html


TAZ, the shepherd from East Camden ...

Was found lying in a puddle of blood; he was near death. Months of vet care and a loving foster home brought him around. Eventually, we found Tazzie his forever home. Today he lives the Life of Riley at the Jersey Shore where he learned a bunch of things!

Brush!
Rinse!
Off To Bed!
Brush!
Rinse!
Off to bed!


Our thanks to all of you who unselfishly provide foster homes.
After weeks or months of nurturing, we know just how difficult it is to hand over the leash ..


Our Brochure

In this issue of the newsletter we've enclosed our recently completed Animal Welfare Regulations brochure for the City of Camden - see links below. We've printed similar pamphlets for the city for years and listed what we thought are the most important issues and ordinances; those that can do the most good, and hopefully right on the spot. We've handed these brochures out by the hundreds and if you copy and fold the enclosed sample you can, too.

As you hand them out you'll usually find the reaction on the part of the resident to be one of surprise. In particular as it pertains to ordinances we've added over the years, 210-39 through 210-45. Although, spaying and neutering is mandated not everyone is aware of it, or obeys the law. There are still plenty of litters. Ordinance number 210-41 allows for the seizure of litters. The city's new and professional animal control department is working hard to enforce these laws and the good news is that a large number of litters have been seized.

We believe our proper shelter ordinance, see 210-44, is better defined than current state law.

Also excellent is 210-45. It prohibits continuous chaining for more than two consecutive hours in any 24 hour period. We are hoping that Camden's examples are eventually implemented by other municipalities and perhaps become the rule throughout the state.

It seems most municipalities don't have the budget, or possibly the interest, to help enlighten residents as to its own animal welfare regulations.

You can help by printing your version of our brochure to fit your municipality. You can use our format and file - go to our website and click on "Our Camden City Brochure". The file will give you the actual color version that we hand out.

Or, if you go to local council meetings, the brochure could serve as a prologue to help pass your city or township's own spay/neuter and no-chaining ordinances. You'll find some simple ideas on how to go about it on our website as well, click on the section entitled "Ordinances You Can Pass".

The brochure will soon be available in Spanish. If interested, please check our website, or give us a call.

-Newt Kirkland




 
Action Alert!
Update from previous alert:

Why is the City of Camden being underserved?

Over the years we have rescued animals and provided for their care. We have put laws, services and programs in place. We have also monitored and taken to task the activities of politicians, groups, corporations, veterinarians and others - and have won. Indeed, we have been described as the "pit bull" of local humane societies. In our ongoing efforts, we challenge the Animal Welfare Association (AWA) of Voorhees, NJ, to better serve the City of Camden with its mobile spay/neuter clinic.

A number of organizations around the country operate mobile clinics. In order to enlighten and inspire AWA, we sponsored two national mobile spay/neuter surveys. The first one in 2002, the other in 2005. Our hopes were to uncover best practices and highlight ways in which mobile clinics across the country may best serve low-income communities with significant animal control challenges, such as those in Camden. Responding groups were eager to participate and welcomed the opportunity to share their experiences. They believe a survey enhances communication and serves as an important tool for growth. Results indicate that all are active in poor areas similar to Camden and many provide the service for free. They typically operate their mobile clinics five days a week and average 6,322 surgeries per year.

Please see entire survey:
/survey_respondents.html

The AWA's mobile spay/neuter clinic commenced because of the needs in the City of Camden. It was originally funded by a foundation to serve Camden first and foremost. Because AWA had just taken possession of the mobile clinic in 2001, there was no need for the group to participate in the first survey. In 2005, AWA was invited, but declined.

Says AWA earlier in 2005: "Since the Winter of 2001 we have performed 3,899 surgeries on the van, 959 in the city of Camden." AWA complains about "abysmal attendance", that they're "missing the boat", and having to "rethink methods of getting the word out". The 2005 AWA mobile schedule allowed for less than four visits per month to limited Camden City locations. Why so few locations and few days?

We are sincerely hoping AWA will study the surveys to help improve next year's performance in Camden. Please, remind them by writing! See sample letter below.



DEAR BOARD MEMBERS:

AWA must find better ways to serve the City of Camden with its mobile spay/neuter clinic. AWA can begin by adding more city locations, increasing the number of surgery days per month, and by providing weekend schedules. If AWA is unable to step up its efforts, the mobile clinic should be handed to a more capable group.

Please mail to:
Animal Welfare Association
509 Centennial Blvd.
Voorhees, NJ
08043

Attn:
Jonathan G. Furlow, President
Kelly Duffy, Vice President
Beth Fitt, Secretary
James Miles, Treasurer
Valerie Butler, Ellen Irwin, Sandra Jacques, Yasmeen Khaleel, Eileen Stukas, Steven Vilardi.

Or, contact them by:
calling 856-424-2288 or e-mail info@awanj.org.

Check our website for more information:
/action.html




Thank you for reading!


Copyright © 2005  Compassion For Camden, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Compassion
for Camden, Inc.

Established in 1992

PO Box 2642
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034


We are a private, nonprofit, all-volunteer humane society dedicated to the prevention of cruelty to animals.

We are funded entirely by private donations and are recognized as tax-exempt under IRS section 501 (c) 3

Staff:
Marion Churchill
Newt Kirkland
Scott Stanfield


Income Allocations:
Administrative and Fundraising: 12%
Programs: 88%