Bloomingdale Animal Shelter shuts doors over budget

BLOOMINGDALE - A North Jersey animal shelter has shut its doors amid a budget battle with local officials.

Volunteers are now scrambling to find homes for dozens of cats and dogs. Some are blaming the closure on the shelter's operator.

Since 1995, Ellen Ribitzki's nonprofit has run the Bloomingdale Animal Shelter. The shelter takes in dogs and cats from seven area towns. This week, the organization moved out of the building. The voluntary move was prompted by a funding feud with the borough of Bloomingdale.

The borough agreed to give the shelter the $31,500 it had asked for this year. However, town leaders claim Ribitzki wouldn't sign the contract without major changes. The borough says that Ribitzki asked the town to pay for utilities, gas, water, and all operating costs, which would add about $20,000 to the bid.

There were about 100 dogs and cats living in the shelter when it had to close its doors. Some went to temporary foster homes and others were taken home by the volunteers themselves. The borough, meanwhile, will now be advertising for a new shelter operator.

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