Written by
Gene Racz | Staff Writer

NORTH BRUNSWICK — The North Brunswick Humane Association (NBHA) is letting its members and supporters know that it will defer its long-term goal of building a no-kill animal shelter so it can fund spay-and-neuter programs in the area.

For the time being, the ambition of constructing a $2.5 million facility in Community Park will give way to short-term priorities such as funding its pilot “Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP). Other ongoing programs will be funded as well, such as pet-food distribution for families, distribution of essential supplies used at local shelters and educational programs in elementary schools.

“We haven’t stopped our goal of Project Shelter — it’s just that right now with the level of donation and the state of the economy, it’s so far in the future that we need to do something a little more current,” NBHA Treasurer Vince Sheehan said.

In June 2009, North Brunswick Township passed a resolution to donate or lease, at minimal cost, public land for a 7,000-square-foot no-kill animal shelter. However, despite ongoing fundraising efforts, the humane association’s resources remain far shy of the estimated $2.5 million it would take to build the facility.

The NBHA reported a balance of $53,234.13 at its most recent meeting on June 13.

In light of this, the NBHA recently sent an open letter to the community of North Brunswick regarding Project Shelter, stating the decision to use some of the money raised for the shelter project to fund small grants for programs related to making sure that unwanted pets are not born in the first place.

Jay Soloway, president of the NBHA estimates that about $2,500 will be put toward funding the SNAP initiatives at several area shelters.

“Basically, we could see the writing on the wall,” Soloway said. “The community, the people, were behind us. The township was behind us. But money is a problem, especially in these times.

“We are not specially using funds that would be considered allocated for the Project Shelter. We never specifically earmarked funds for the shelter itself. And we still want to maintain funds that we can consider to be put toward Project Shelter when and if the time comes when we can focus on it.”

The North Brunswick Humane Association roughly estimates it will take another five to 10 years to save enough money to put up the $2.5 million needed. The 501(c)(3) organization, established in 2003, has about 85 members and meets at 7:30 p.m. on the second Monday of every month in the North Brunswick Municipal Building. Members of the community are welcome and encouraged to attend meetings.

“Anyone who has any questions can feel free to call us,” Soloway said. “We can explain to them what our philosophy is and why we’re going in somewhat of a different direction in the short term.”

Gene Racz: 732-565-7306; gracz@njpressmedia.com