Toms River animal shelter closes, lays off 8 employees

Toms River Mayor Dan Rodrick shut down its animal shelter and laid off eight employees just months after telling News 12 he would keep it open.

Jim Murdoch

Jun 7, 2024, 4:12 PM

Updated 5 days ago

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Toms River Mayor Dan Rodrick shut down its animal shelter and laid off eight employees just months after telling News 12 he would keep it open.
“We are not closing the animal shelter. It's a beautiful building. It's brand new. It's only a few years old,” said Rodrick during a sit-down interview with News 12’s Jim Murdoch back in early February.
Fast forward to June 7, and the facility is closed. On Thursday evening the employees were told they were being laid off, and a sign was posted on the front entrance saying they're no longer accepting donations.
The town's business administrator Jonathan Salonis was at the facility Friday helping remove several cats into the vehicle of a rescue volunteer.
“We heard last night they were getting ready to move the cats to the Ocean County shelter so we reached out to see if we could help and here we are,” said Allie Whitehouse of All Fur One Rescue in Silverton.
Mayor Rodrick made it clear he wanted to transfer control of the shelter over to Ocean County, which already runs shelters in Manahawkin and in Jackson.
But in April the council voted to instead lease the facility to the county. A petition with more than 3,000 signatures in support of the shelter had no impact on the mayor's decision.
“We (Ocean County Health Department) didn't solicit this situation...Toms River came to us,” said Brian Lippai, a spokesperson for the Ocean County Health Department.
Thirty animals remain at the Toms River shelter. Rescue groups like All Fur One will remove the majority still there. Lippai says the health department shelters will take in rest.
“If we were to work out some sort of lease agreement with them again we would probably go through that process to see what would need to be done,” said Lippai.
Mayor Rodrick says the shelter could be back up and running within a month or two if an agreement is reached with the county to share the space. The health department says it could take much longer.
“In order to take over the shelter there has to be renovation work,” said Lippai.
Both the mayor and the county say exact details of what will happen next will have to be worked out between their attorneys.


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