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Covering Hamilton and Robbinsville townships in-depth for The Trentonian. I can be reached at (609) 989-7800 ext. 207 or (609) 468-6962. Email me at or follow me @awisefool.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Shelters overloaded with stray, abandoned animals

Smooch, a domestic shorthair cat, reaches out to manager Elaine Thaxton at Trenton's animal shelter. 

Last month, when police ended the hostage situation on Grand Street where Gerald Tyrone Murphy held three children, animal control officers rescued four dogs from the house. Two have since been adopted, and two were euthanized.
Elaine Thaxton, the manager of Trenton’s animal shelter, said two pit bulls rescued from the house were too aggressive to be adopted and had to be euthanized. The other two, smaller dogs had been treated, resocialized and adopted by family members of the hostage victims. Thaxton said that was one of many decisions the volunteers and employees of Mercer County’s animal shelters have to make about animals in their care.
“They were very thin when they came in,” she said of the two smaller dogs from the house. “We were lucky that we were able to socialize them again. At first they were scared to approach anyone, but by the end they were just running up to people.”
Thaxton said the four dogs had all been held in the “horrible” situation in the house along with the children. Murphy allegedly killed 44-year-old Carmelita Stevens and her son, 13-year-old Quavon Foster by stabbing them multiple times in the chest in late April. Their bodies were not discovered for roughly two weeks until police conducted a wellness check at the home on May 10. After police discovered Foster’s body, the standoff began and 37 hours later, New Jersey State Police stormed the home and killed Murphy.
A few of the animals in Trenton’s shelter come from such police raids, and some are so abused or neglected that they need to be put down, Thaxton said. Less than 10 percent of the more than 1,000 dogs and cats that came through Trenton’s shelter in one 12-month period came from police. More than 500 come from calls for strays, according to data provided by health officer James Brownlee.
Regardless of where they come from, Brownlee said, they try to find the animals stable homes, foster homes or spots with a rescue group.
“The goal is to move them out of the shelter as soon as possible,” he said.
You can read the full story here.


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