With reduced staff and animals coming in from those who have lost jobs during the pandemic, there is a lot to do for the few shelter workers who are still working.

So I wanted to share this heartfelt letter from Ken McKeel, the Assistant Executive Director at the Associated Humane Society of Newark.

"I would certainly NEVER take anything away from our front line heroes as they are certainly well worthy of being called heroes, but there are some other heroes in this pandemic that I would like to recognize.

They are the animal shelter workers and rescues. Currently at my shelter I have a very short staff of people who come in every day, putting their health on the line to care for the animals that are in their care.

To date we have approximately 250 cats, dogs and birds that need constant care and these people have not once during this pandemic come to me to complain about being overworked. They have not said one word about putting their health in jeopardy as they walk to work or get on the bus or train in order to get here.

What they have said to me is, 'We love the animals and we will do whatever we have to do to make sure they are healthy, clean and cared for.' 

I am hoping everyone will recognize them so they know how appreciated they are for the work they continue to do. I tell them every day myself. 

So to all my shelter friends, rescue friends and anyone saving and caring for the homeless animals during this pandemic, please know I love you all and I (as well as the animals) appreciate everything you do each and every day. God Bless, stay healthy and continue doing what you do. The animals need you all."

The dog in this photo was recently taken in at the Associated Humane Society (Newark branch) as part of a hoarding case of 17 dogs, 15 cats, and 28 birds. This is just one example of what these shelters deal with on a limited staff during these difficult times.

In our area, the Associated Humane Society has adoption centers in Tinton Falls and at the Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey Township.

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