Charges Against SAVE Are Dismissed; Fence Found to Be Temporary Solution
SAVE, Princeton's long-time animal shelter located on Herrontown Road, appeared in Princeton Township's Municipal Court on Tuesday, after receiving two summonses over the noise from barking dogs at the facility. Charges were dismissed, as the facility came to a private arrangement with the Township, said Sara Nicolls, the executive director of SAVE.
The 33-year-old animal shelter will be proceeding with an agreement they had made with the Township back in October to screen in two-thirds of the outdoor play area for the dogs. This should decrease the amount of barking once the dogs are no longer able to see the traffic that is passing by, said the director.
"I was pleased that the Township came to this agreement," said Ms. Nicolls. "We continue to be responsive to neighbors' complaints, and I would hope that they would come to us personally in the future."
The barking problem at the facility has been a problem for awhile, said Mark Johnson, animal control officer for Princeton. Mr. Johnson had issued the tickets to SAVE after neighbors complained of incessant barking.
"Literally, [the barking] was day and night," he said.
Mr. Johnson said he was content with the decision that was made in court on Tuesday: "We're not going to stop the barking, but this will lessen it from what it was."
$1 Million Gift
Complaints about the facility followed on the heels of the new SAVE capital expansion campaign, which started last fall. Plans for an upgraded facility are estimated to cost $5 million.
The shelter made recent headway when an anonymous donor and dog lover pledged $1 million, matching all other gifts made to the capital campaign.
"The donor wanted to spur people on and help us reach our campaign goal," said Ms. Nicolls.
The donor said she wanted to help build a facility where the dogs would no longer be kenneled in the middle of the shelter, away from windows and skylights.
"There is such a tremendous need in the Princeton community for a state-of-the-art animal shelter," said the donor. "I have two rescued dogs at home, and every time I look in their eyes, I am so grateful for them. I want all stray animals to have this chance."
Plans for the new facility include a new building, and expanded facilities and more adequate space for the animals on the existing property, including an indoor play area. On-site spaying and neutering facilities, along with rehabilitation spaces for the animals will also be part of the new facility.
SAVE, or the Small Animal Veterinary Endowment, was founded in 1941, and is one of seven no-kill shelters in New Jersey. In 2003, the shelter rescued more than 1,100 animals.
Its current facility, which was built in 1971, was renovated in 1997, although not to the extent that was needed, said Ms. Nicolls. Currently 15 to 18 animals must be turned away each day because of a lack of space for them.
"We made very modest changes," Ms. Nicolls said.
The proposed facility, which could be set in motion as early as late April, will enable SAVE to shelter up to 300 animals at a time, allowing for approximately 3,200 animals to be rescued each year.
Ms. Nicolls said she would like to find a better solution to the current problems that are coming up at the shelter, and she hopes that they all will be solved when the new facility is built.
"Our hope is to find a long-term solution in the very near future," she said.