KIYC: Animal cruelty charges filed against AHS director

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The executive director of the troubled Associated Humane Societies animal shelter in Newark has been charged with 16 counts of animal cruelty.

The New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals announced Wednesday that it has filed eight criminal and eight civil counts of animal cruelty against Roseann Trezza, 70.

Kane In Your Corner reported on problems at the AHS shelter last month. The shelter had been operating without a license after failing three consecutive health inspections. Debra Honan, a former shelter volunteer, said she observed some dogs covered in urine and suffering from kennel cough and upper respiratory infections, while others had untreated open wounds.

The charges come as the NJSPCA’s own future is in doubt. Monday, state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D – Elizabeth) convened hearings into the nonprofit group, which serves as the state's "animal police." Lesniak will release reform legislation for that agency next week, but has indicated he is likely to propose removing the group’s law enforcement authority and placing county SPCAs under the authority of local prosecutors’ offices.

The NJSPCA was the subject of a yearlong Kane In Your Corner investigation, which exposed issues including a backlog of uninvestigated cases and no-bid contracts between the group and companies owned by its board of trustees. Some of the same findings were cited in a scathing report last month by the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation, which recommended the NJSPCA be stripped of law enforcement authority.

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