Kane In Your Corner: East Orange Animal Shelter veterinarian to resign

The veterinarian overseeing the East Orange Animal Shelter says he will resign in the wake of a Kane In Your Corner investigation into that facility. Meanwhile, inspection reports obtained by News 12

News 12 Staff

Aug 28, 2015, 4:51 AM

Updated 3,161 days ago

Share:

Kane In Your Corner: East Orange Animal Shelter veterinarian to resign
The veterinarian overseeing the East Orange Animal Shelter says he will resign in the wake of a Kane In Your Corner investigation into that facility. Meanwhile, inspection reports obtained by News 12 New Jersey raise new questions about a potential conflict of interest involving the East Orange Health Department, which both operated that facility and was the agency primarily responsible for determining whether it obeyed the law.
Former East Orange Animal Control Officer Alex Kelly says having the city's Health Department inspect its own shelter is ridiculous. "They're not gonna say, 'Yeah, this place needs to be shut down.' Your own people are not gonna shut your place down," Kelly says.
Inspection reports show the city's inspector found problems in two inspections this year. In one report, he wrote, "We need portable water for the animals, as per the state requirement." Presumably, he meant "potable water," which is water that's safe to drink. The inspector also noted that the shelter's fire inspection was out of date and the shelter's license had been expired for more than two years, meaning the facility could not legally operate. Yet the inspector did not order the shelter to close or even give it an "unsatisfactory" grade. Instead, he gave the facility, run by his boss, a grade of "conditionally satisfactory," allowing it to continue doing business as usual.
Kelly, who was present for the inspections, was not surprised. "If you send me in to check your building, and me and you are tight, and we're friends, I'm gonna say, 'You got a couple of issues you gotta take care of whenever you get a chance, don't worry about it,'" Kelly says. "That's how it went, just like that." 
East Orange's health inspections stand in stark contrast to the inspection conducted by the New Jersey Department of Health last month. As Kane In Your Corner reported, that inspection gave the East Orange facility a failing grade, citing numerous violations, including failing to provide animals with "at least prompt, basic veterinary care to alleviate pain and suffering." The state, however, does not have enough inspectors to visit each animal shelter regularly; that responsibility generally falls to local health departments.
In a written statement, East Orange spokesperson Connie Jackson says, "The City of East Orange is aggressively addressing the overall management, maintenance, and staffing of the East Orange Animal Shelter," adding that "in light of the recent inspection report which revealed repeated deficiencies, Mayor Taylor has demanded that corrective action be taken immediately." 
That's a big change from the reaction city officials initially provided last week, when they falsely claimed the most serious violations against the shelter had been dropped by the state, and then sent security to prevent Kane In Your Corner from questioning the health director about that false statement.
Dr. Kimani Griffith, the veterinarian contracted by the city to oversee the shelter, says he will resign his position as soon as the city can find a replacement. "I realize they need someone who has more time to manage a facility like that," Griffith says. "I probably got a little in over my head."
Despite that admission, the city seems reluctant to let Griffith go. In an email obtained by News 12 New Jersey, Health Director Evans says, "Dr. Kimani (sic) can't leave his contract, so he will remain employed until his contract ends." The contract has 18 months remaining.


More from News 12
1:49
Fire in Newark displaces dozens of people, destroys businesses

Fire in Newark displaces dozens of people, destroys businesses

1:44
Spotty showers overnight with lows around 48; breezy but sunny Wednesday ahead

Spotty showers overnight with lows around 48; breezy but sunny Wednesday ahead

1:17
Police: 4 thieves stole high-end handbags from Montclair shop

Police: 4 thieves stole high-end handbags from Montclair shop

1:37
NJ Business Coalition urges lawmakers to reconsider corporate transit fee

NJ Business Coalition urges lawmakers to reconsider corporate transit fee

0:28
Police: Man accused of stealing steaks from Bayonne Walmart at knifepoint

Police: Man accused of stealing steaks from Bayonne Walmart at knifepoint

1:07
Paterson middle school briefly goes into lockdown following gunshots at nearby home

Paterson middle school briefly goes into lockdown following gunshots at nearby home

0:56
Jersey Proud: Man walks across the US raising money for ‘America Walks’

Jersey Proud: Man walks across the US raising money for ‘America Walks’

2:00
Seaside Park enacts new ‘No Wake Zone’ law to prevent people causing havoc in flooded streets

Seaside Park enacts new ‘No Wake Zone’ law to prevent people causing havoc in flooded streets

0:19
Road rage incident in Jersey City caught on camera; police seek driver

Road rage incident in Jersey City caught on camera; police seek driver

2:04
Police: Crews rescue 46 dogs from fire inside Pio Costa industrial complex in Fairfield

Police: Crews rescue 46 dogs from fire inside Pio Costa industrial complex in Fairfield

0:31
Sources: Body recovered in Barnegat Bay believed to be missing Island Heights woman

Sources: Body recovered in Barnegat Bay believed to be missing Island Heights woman

1:52
Police: South Brunswick crash involving car and motorcycle kills 1

Police: South Brunswick crash involving car and motorcycle kills 1

0:55
News 12 and Red Bulls host Weather Education Day at Red Bull Arena

News 12 and Red Bulls host Weather Education Day at Red Bull Arena

0:20
Police: Burglar found in crawl space at Ocean Township diner

Police: Burglar found in crawl space at Ocean Township diner

Police: 1 person killed in car crash on Route 535 in South Brunswick

Police: 1 person killed in car crash on Route 535 in South Brunswick

0:29
Moscow court rejects Evan Gershkovich's appeal, keeping him in jail until at least June 30

Moscow court rejects Evan Gershkovich's appeal, keeping him in jail until at least June 30

0:27
Newark Liberty International Airport’s Terminal A named world’s best terminal by Skytrax

Newark Liberty International Airport’s Terminal A named world’s best terminal by Skytrax

1:52
Rahway police seek public’s help identifying suspects in attempted car thefts, burglaries

Rahway police seek public’s help identifying suspects in attempted car thefts, burglaries

0:29
Former Wildwood mayor indicted for 2nd time, accused of tax evasion

Former Wildwood mayor indicted for 2nd time, accused of tax evasion

0:31
Authorities ID 3 people killed in South Brunswick crash

Authorities ID 3 people killed in South Brunswick crash