Friday, January 17, 2014

Fighting a system that doesn't care

I want to share with you just how I feel about helping the owner of Max get justice for him. Max slipped out of the house on May 11, 2013, he was a beloved family member of a dear friend of mine. He was 15 years old. My friend did everything possible to reclaim Max, everything! THE SYSTEM FAILED MAX, THE SYSTEM FAILED MY FRIEND! The animal control officer picked Max up a few doors down and he vanished, plain and simple, HE IS GONE. We have a public servant that is paid with our taxes that did not follow proper procedure and has refused to tell the truth. AND NO ONE IN AUTHORITY CARES! The township of Voorhees was notified two weeks after Max disappeared and were sincerely sorry it happened. They told us they were going to withhold payment to the animal control company until the truth about Max was told. WRONG, THEY DID NOT, THERE WAS A PAYMENT MADE THREE WEEKS AFTER THAT STATEMENT. She was eventually fired but I can assure you it was only because her boss felt the pressure from Voorhees Township to do something. Her boss didn't help my friend get answers the days following Max's disappearance. He allowed all his officers to place animals into foster care without proper shelter intake. Of course now with the pressure on, he has "reviewed the protocol and will no longer allow employees to place impounded animals in foster care, all animals will go to designated shelters". THIS SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN ALLOWED IN THE FIRST PLACE! Every bit of evidence we needed had to be requested through OPRA. We were questioned as to why we needed it and told the police reports may not be supplied. WE DEMANDED IT, IT IS OUR RIGHT! Even the shelter wouldn't give us their log to prove Max never arrived, we had to OPRA it. I called the NJSPCA to make a report, hoping they could help. SEVENTEEN phone calls just to get the case assigned. Weeks later after I sent them all my evidence I gathered, they said they interview her boss and although it was wrong they wouldn't file charges. THEY NEVER SPOKE WITH THE ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER! They said they couldn't without "mirandizing" her. I asked for their report and guess what? Forty five minutes of my life was wasted talking with an officer about all he has done in his 30 some years helping animals. I DON'T CARE! Then he refused to release it saying "have your attorney request it". I told him we don't have an attorney, he said sorry but you can't have it. AGAIN THE SYSTEM FAILS. People ask me who I spoke to at the NJSPCA, honestly I spoke to so many I have to refer to my notes, what a mess! Now onto the courts to file charges. Do you know how many eye rolls from the township court clerk we got when explaining why we were there? She tells us that we need to file in criminal court, I show her the statue that allows us to file in municipal court. She takes it back to her boss who comes out of her office but stays 20 feet away and doesn't speak to us. More eye rolls and the clerk begrudgingly allowed us to file. I wanted to scream, this is our government, we are entitled to do this, this is her job to do it, we weren't filing charges against her. I notified Camden County Shared Services since the animal control company is paid by them. They never had a complaint about that company. Well I guess not, who would go through all this?? They were going to look into it. I told them that they get what they pay for and unfortunately our animals are suffering because they went with the lowest bid. Months later, I am still waiting for a return call. The prosecutors don't know the laws pertaining to animal abuse and theft of property. And honestly they don't want to educate themselves. "Our case is clogging up the system". One prosecutor repeatedly said to my friend "So you let your cat out". When my friend would try to reply, she would repeat it over. NO SHE DID NOT LET HER CAT OUT, ANIMALS GET OUT. IT WAS ONE DAMN TIME MAX GOT OUT. AND WHO THE HELL ARE YOU OR ANYONE ELSE TO PASS JUDGEMENT ON MY DEAR FRIEND WHO HAS DONE NOTHING WRONG!!! The prosecutor refuses to listen to us and walks away. And then, we go before the judge, the animal control officer with her lawyer on one side, my friend and I on the other BUT WAIT...where is the prosecutor who is representing Max??? SHE NEVER CAME INTO THE COURTROOM!! So the judge suggested we get a lawyer and postponed the trial until March. DO YOU SEE WHY NO ONE WOULD PURSUE THIS? They don't want a private citizen to question authority, they don't want us to exercise our rights and will make it damn hard if you try. We have been treated like crazy animal people, third class citizens and all we are doing is exercising our rights! We are college educated registered nurses, although unfamiliar with the court system, WE ARE NOT STUPID!! PEOPLE, do I sound angry? Well I am, I am an animal rescuer "in my spare time". I protect and fight for the animals for FREE, without your tax dollars helping. We have people in authority that are paid with yours and mine tax dollars that don't care, that don't want to do their job and don't want people like us interfering in their day to day business. IT IS TIME FOR PEOPLE TO GET ANGRY WITH ME! People in authority that handle our animals are frequently abusing our animals and misusing their authority. Take the time to educate yourself and see how many animal control officers have injured and killed needlessly, have killed our ferals, have destroyed feral feeding stations, have given misinformation leading to the deaths of animals. I work with several animal control officers that are great...but the ones that are bad leads to suffering and death of our animals. WE NEED TO BE THEIR VOICES, WE NEED TO TELL OUR POLITICIANS WE ARE NOT GOING TO TOLERATE IT ANYMORE! POLITICIANS ARE OUR EMPLOYEES! THE POLITICIANS DELEGATE THE MONEY USED FOR OUR SHELTERS AND OUR ANIMALS. IT IS OUR MONEY! THEY NEED TO STOP USING IT DOING BULLSHIT STUFF FOR THEIR POLITICIAN FRIENDS AND DELEGATE MORE FOR OUR ANIMALS. THEY NEED TO FUND SPAY/NEUTER CLINICS! SHELTERS IN THIS COUNTRY NEED TO STOP HIRING PRISONERS AS CHEAP LABOR IN THE SHELTERS, THEN ACT HORRIFIED WHEN VIDEOS SHOW THEM KILLING ANIMALS. HIRE THEM TO WORK IN YOUR OFFICES. OUTLAW THE DAMN GAS CHAMBERS! MAKE ANIMAL CRUELTY A FELONY AND FORCE THE PROSECUTORS TO DO THEIR JOBS! WE DON'T HAVE TO ALLOW THEM TO SHUT DOORS IN OUR FACES...WE NEED TO LEARN TO KICK THEM OPEN. WE NEED TO BE HEARD!!! FOR GOD SAKES PEOPLE, START SCREAMING! THE ANIMALS CAN'T DO IT WITHOUT US

Joyce Moyer

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Justice for Max - the fight continues

Meet Max. He was a beloved 15 year old cat that was a truly loved family member of my friend since he had been found as a small stray kitten. On Saturday May 11, 2013 during a family party, Max got out during the evening. He wandered a few doors down to a neighbor who never saw him before (of course, he was never outside) and she called 911 reporting a sick cat. Max was very thin due to a thyroid issue and had been under a vets care for years. He did not have his collar on because it was always coming off due to his weight loss. Max was purring, playing with the neighbors children. The police arrived as did the Animal Control Officer. The neighbor was concerned for his safety and took a picture of him before he left with the ACO in case his owner was looking for him. He was supposed to go to Animal Orphanage, the designated shelter for all impounded animals from Voorhees. He was picked up at 7:11pm. Early Sunday morning, Max couldn't be found in my friends house. They desperately searched the entire house, yard and neighborhood looking for him. They called the police getting Camden County Dispatch and were informed to call Independent Animal Control, the service Voorhees contracts with. My friend called getting voice mail and begged for someone to call her about her sick cat that may have been picked up. They called Animal Orphanage, AWA and even Camden County Animal Shelter, all reporting no cat was brought into their shelters matching him. AO reported no cats at all were brought in on Saturday. They continued to search the house and neighborhood. Another message to Independent Animal Control goes unanswered. Early Monday morning, May 13, my friend calls Voorhees Twp police and makes a report of her missing sick cat. No records indicate her cat was picked up. Again she calls Independent at 9am as the message on the companies voice mail says they are only available 9a-5p. She speaks with the owner, Rob Chabot who told her he was not sure if her cat was picked up. He was not on duty over the weekend and the officer that was takes two weeks to turn in reports. She begged him to call his employee because Max needed his medication and he refused, stating the employee was off until Thursday and unavailable. No amount of pleading changed his mind. My friend and family visited all three shelters that day searching for Max. Tuesday, May 13 my friend called Independent Animal Control and left a message begging for information, her call went unanswered. Again they visit the shelters. Wednesday, May 14 my friend calls Voorhees police telling them Chabot was not giving her any information. They advised her to continue calling him. Thursday, May 15, Chabot's employee finally calls my friend at noon. ACO stated that her cat was picked up on Saturday evening and since he looked sick, Max was taken to a friends home who fosters cats. My friend begged her for this persons name and phone number so she could get Max back. She was told her name was Ashley but the officer would not give her a phone number, stating they would contact her and call her back. My friend anxiously waited and by 5pm did not receive a call so she called the officer back. The officer told my friend "Ashley said he wasn't eating so she took him to Sterling Vet where she works on Monday, May 13. The vet euthanized him because he was too sick". My friend was devastated. Six long days searching for her cat, doing everything right to reclaim him, begging for information and he was dead on day 2. Her entire family was heartbroken. A few days later, a neighbor informed her she did call 911 that day because she didn't know who he belonged to and even sent my friend the picture of Max sitting in the cage before the ACO took him. My friend reached out to me on May 24 still heartbroken about Max and blaming herself. I told her that Max, by law, was supposed to be taken to AO and then if foster was available, he could go there only after all the paper work was done at the shelter. This assures owners the opportunity to reclaim their animals during the mandatory 7 day hold that all shelters and rescues must abide by. On May 28th, I contacted Sterling Vet to see what happened to Max and there was no cat brought in and euthanized that day. AND there was no one employed by them named Ashley. I contacted my friend and she immediately called Chabot, demanding to know where he can was. He said if the cat was put in foster care, there are no report and no paper trail. My friend begged for her cat and he had the officer call her. Now the officer states Max died on the way to the vet. My friend demanded to know where his remains were and the officer said he was cremated and would drop off the paper to her proving it.(never received it) Of course the officer was sorry but that didn't help my friend and her cat. Chabot was recalled and told of this new "story" and he said he was going to review their foster care procedure. The Twp of Voorhees was notified and demanded a full detailed report from Chabot regarding Max and as of today, has not received it. He did send a vague report that he was picked up and case closed five days later. This was not detailed. All the records from various agencies were obtained thru OPRA and the evidence is clear that this was mishandled. Friends...this behavior of the officer on duty and of Independent Animal Control is illegal. N.J.S.A. 4:19-15.16 The lack of concern for Max and his family was atrocious. My friend still does not know what really happened to Max. There are laws in place to protect our animals. And when a public servant acts in bad faith and it causes the death or disappearance of an animal, it needs to be made public. Most people believe that everyone that works in the animal service field does it because they love animals. Well that is not true. If an animal is picked up by animal control and appears sick, it must be taken to a vet immediately. If that vet deems it sick, they have the right to euthanize. Records must be made of the animal at the designated shelter and the remains of that animal must be held by that shelter until the 7 day hold is up. There are too many unanswered questions in this situation. Where is Max? Who is Ashley? Why did the officer lie? What is the officer trying to cover up by changing the story several times? Why doesn't Chabot maintain records? Why can they place animals directly in foster care? Why didn't anyone want to help my friend get her cat back? Why did Chabot refuse to help? The officer claimed if he was taken to the shelter he would have been euthanized because he was question is by who at 7:11pm on a Saturday night? There are no vets at the shelters at that time or vet techs. How many more animals have suffered this fate? My friend did everything right to get her cat back and the system failed her and failed Max. He was never outside and the one time he gets out, he is picked up by an officer that doesn't follow the law. How fair is that? He lives for 15 years with a loving family only to be disposed of by someone who broke the law. It is a very sad situation. And this officer will have to explain it to the courts. We have been to court five times and will continue to fight for justice. Private citizens need to know they have a right to file charges against public servants that act in bad faith. In the end, the animals will only suffer if we don't step up and be their voices. Joyce Moyer

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Event - Pet Supplies Plus

We had an awesome event yesterday at Pet Supplies Plus thanks to Paw It 4Ward Foundation. Here are some shots from the day:

Thank you, PI4W and PSP!!

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Riley Update

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Starting 2014 off on the right foot!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Joa's Arc is starting 2014 off on the right foot... or should we say knee?

Right before Christmas, Joa's Arc received an anonymous donation of $500 - just what we needed for the rest of the fundraising for Riley's knee surgery! This donation could not have come at a better time because it has become increasingly more obvious, even on joint medication, that Riley's knee has been bothering him. His foster, Jen W, needed to lift him up on to a cat tree the other day because he couldn't/wouldn't put the pressure on his bad knee to leap up - poor guy!

Riley's surgery is actually scheduled for tomorrow at Winslow Animal Hospital with our buddy, Dr. Coudrai, and we are so excited that Riley gets to start off the new year a lot more comfortable.

We can't deny Joa's Arc left 2013 quite well too.

December brought us the adoption of not just Fox (who was with us for over a year), but also Denver. Like our Cordi, Denver would have made it long without the help of Joa's Arc: once rescued from a colony of sick, outside cats in Delaware, Denver found himself at a vet who was suggesting he be put to sleep. The bobble-head kitten had cerebral hypoplasia and could not stand, could not walk - but there was a spark in his eyes and Joyce M brought him home with her. In foster care, Denver received physical therapy, acupuncture appointments, exercise, lots of love and time for the right home to find him.

Joyce M saw the life in Denver, even when he was still unable to stand, and gave him a shot at a full life - one in which he can now stand on his own, where he can walk (though maybe not in a straight line) and he's well loved - Denver celebrated 2013 changing to 2014 in a new home.

Animals like Cordi and Denver, two of Joa's Arc 2013 successful medical cases and adoptions, are why we do what we do. Thank you for supporting that. Thank you for your continued support of Joa's Arc. Here's to a life-saving, compassionate 2014!

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