Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Township Hires Niki Dawson as Acting Shelter Director

Montclair Township Manager Timothy Stafford is pleased to announce the appointment of Nicole Dawson as acting Animal Shelter Director. She will serve at the Shelter until the position can be permanently filled.
Ms. Dawson brings to the shelter extensive knowledge and experience with animal welfare operations management. Most recently she served as the Interim Director for the Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter after the NJSPCA took receivership of the agency. While there, she developed a business plan for a financially sustainable and humane shelter which was presented to the borough’s council.
Prior to that Ms. Dawson was the Executive Director at the Somerset Regional Animal Shelter, where she helped triple adoption numbers, significantly increased TNR rates, and raised the awareness level of the organization, thereby helping double donations over previous years.
“We are confident that Ms. Dawson will provide our shelter the appropriate guidance to help organize operations and offer a smooth transition for the person who will ultimately fill the director position,” said Township Manager Stafford. “We look forward to working with her in the coming months to ensure that our shelter animals have the best care possible."

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Happy Ending for April Love!

After spending over 2 1/2 years -- that's 913 days in a shelter -- waiting for a forever family, only to be passed over time and time again because she breathes loudly, April Love, a truly lovable kitty, is leaving the Montclair Township Animal Shelter to go to a home!

April Love's heart-wrenching story went viral on social media with over 3500 shares on Facebook since December. Calls and emails flooded into the shelter from around the country -- with folks from Minnesota, Florida and even California inquiring about her.

“The outpouring of love for sweet April Love is inspiring” said shelter cat team volunteer leader Karen Shinevar. “Given that she has spent nearly her whole life in a shelter environment, her next chapter must be sensitive to her socialization needs as well as her breathing condition."

The numerous inquiries for April Love were heartfelt and generous. Many folks came to visit April Love and some even fell in love with other cats while they were at the shelter.

“While some offers would have required lengthy transport that could be stressful and put her physical and emotional well-being at risk, the Montclair community has been so kind, responsive and understanding,” said Karen.

To make matters more difficult for her adoption even as her story gained attention, April Love developed a kitty cold which kept her from the “public meet & greet” events.

Then, last week, after hearing of April Love's story, Carteret Animal League, a nonprofit animal rescue organization based in West Carteret NJ, stepped forward to rescue precious April Love -- she will live in a home to get adjusted to family life. She will also have a full medical work up to better understand her condition.

"Once she is ready for her forever home, she will be placed in NJ and it will require a home visit. Only the best for this girl!" Said Alex Klinger of Carteret Animal League.

Last Friday, April Love officially said goodbye to the shelter that gave her love, comfort and care for the past 2 1/2 years. Volunteers and staff shared a tearful farewell to this beautiful girl as she embarked on the next chapter of her life.

If you are interested in April Love, please contact Carteret Animal League at

Photo credit: Eric Delmar

Friday, November 7, 2014

Animal Shelter Volunteers & Staff Step Up Adoption Efforts

The Montclair Township Animal Shelter has seen some remarkable progress in pet adoption numbers during last several weeks. Volunteers rallied behind adoption events, dog-walking, pet socialization, and other efforts to help shelter animals, so that they may ultimately find their forever homes.

Shelter volunteer and Montclair local Nancy Willis spearheaded a major adoption campaign for dogs. She organized weekly outings to the Montclair Farmers’ Market with volunteers and shelter dogs so that the animals could be more visible and be able to interact with the public.

“We really wanted to get some of our dogs out in the fresh air where people gather so that folks could come and meet them and find out what truly wonderful and friendly companions they would make,” said Willis.

Willis had bright yellow t-shirts made for the volunteers and Montclair resident and professional photographer Eric Delmar provided his services to produce beautiful portraits of the Shelter’s cats and dogs. Shelter volunteer Noel Sedransk donated graphic design and printing costs to make posters that are being displayed in establishments around town.

“It was just amazing to see how many people rallied around our efforts and came out to help,” said Willis. “What was even more gratifying was the reaction from those who stopped by to meet our dogs – they simply fell in love! Just as we knew they would.”

As a result of combined efforts on the part of volunteers and shelter staff, 27 dogs have found homes during the past several weeks.

In addition, Caz Rosson was recently hired to be the Shelter Volunteer Coordinator. “Caz is well on the way to making some very positive changes that will further the good work of the volunteers,” said Health Department Director Sue Portuese. “She has some really great ideas that we’re looking forward implementing to help our animals and our staff.”

“I am truly astonished and pleased not only that we have so many terrific people who raised their hands to help our animals, their dedication and efforts are a such a tremendous asset to what we hope to achieve at the Shelter moving forward,” said Rosson.

One of Rosson’s first tasks was to organize volunteer duties, nominating team leaders for various shelter responsibilities: cats, dogs, media, events, and administration.

“Having well-defined roles not only makes for clear objectives, it provides much greater direction and accountability to ensure that all our animals’ needs are seen to,” said Rosson. “We have some extraordinary people who gladly stepped up to the plate to take on these leadership roles and they will help me with coordinating all of our activities.”

In addition to the Farmers’ Market events, the Shelter hosted the second annual fundraiser “Zombie Dog Walk of the Dead,” organized by Anthony Muzikar of Pet adoption events were held at the Upper Montclair Sidewalk Sale and Anthropologie on Bloomfield Avenue. Volunteers have also stepped up a social media and TV34 pet spotlight campaign to ensure the animals get maximum visibility on all media. Additional events are planned, such as dog and cat adoption Saturdays at Petco in West Orange and resuming volunteer evening walks with shelter dogs.

The Montclair Animal Shelter continues to accept volunteer applications and will host more weekly orientations in the weeks to come. For more in formation, please contact