Closing BARKS animal shelter is not in the township’s best interests

Byram /
| 14 May 2021 | 02:12

Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to the Byram mayor and town council. Please see related story, “Byram breaks up with BARKS animal rescue.”

Dear Mayor Rubenstein,

Last week I read about the disassociation the town made with BARKS. I was very upset to read about what was happening. In my opinion you are making a big mistake. BARKS has been around for 47 years and has operated as a no-kill shelter. The organization does a lot to assist the community and most of all help all animals.

Yes, some of the animals might come from other areas but that should not be an issue. Most animal shelters and rescue groups do help other rescues from other states. I don’t need to tell you their purpose is to assist one another, and their goal is to place all animals in a loving and safe home. You made a decision that is not at all in the best interest of the township or the residents.

What happens now with animals that are lost, or residents who can no longer take care of their pets because they are sick or for financial reasons. The decision should have been put to a vote by the residents and not by you or the town council. Sheryl Thole, who was the president of BARKS, dedicated her life to the animals, and if she were alive today, she too would be devastated.

You should do something to rectify the damage that you and the town council have done. That shelter was always there to do whatever they could and have always succeeded in finding loving homes for all animals. I also want to acknowledge Darlene, the current president of BARKS, and the volunteers who make sure the animals receive love and care. They too have dedicated their lives to the cause to save animals. All animals are innocent and should not be killed because no one wants to take the time to find solutions to assist with low cost spay programs and in finding loving homes. And, to support their local no-kill shelters and rescue groups.

I have two dogs and a cat that are rescue animals. My cat was adopted 13 years ago at the Bloomfield Animal Shelter. My two dogs came from Virginia at different times, and I adopted them from OSCAR Pet Rescue in Sparta. Those shelters were great to work with. If those rescues didn’t step in to save my babies, they would have been killed at no fault of their own. My dogs came from Virginia, which is a kill shelter. BARKS always remained a no-kill shelter and always did their best and continue to save animals lives. I would hope that you do not put a kill shelter in their place. You should assist BARKS with any costs, new kennels or repairs they must make to move into a new place. Hopefully, all animals’ lovers will stand by BARKS and help with donations. Do something to make this right!

From a loyal supporter of BARKS for many many years!

Marietta Sommer