By Art Schwartz
May 3, 2015
Three members of the New York Giants football team brought their star power to the recent fundraiser for the Secaucus Animal Shelter. The Harmon Cove Clubhouse was packed for the afternoon as the three “good sports” met and mingled with fans.
“These guys are great,” said Councilwoman Susan Pirro, the town’s liaison with the shelter. “It was a great, great afternoon. We had a very good turnout.”
“When we come out it usually draws a bigger crowd, and if you have a bigger crowd it draws more attention to the cause. Hopefully we’ll get some of these guys adopted here,” said defensive tackle Markus Kuhn, referring to the five dogs brought along by the shelter for adoption.
Kuhn heard about the event from his girlfriend, Hoboken resident Alyssa Fasciano. “We’re big into animal support,” said Kuhn. “We have a dog. We both don’t eat meat.”
“There are so many beautiful dogs in shelters dying every day,” said Fasciano. “They’re being put down. Luckily now there are a lot of no-kill shelters.”
The Secaucus Animal Shelter is a no-kill facility. Over the years they have expanded from a local shelter to an interstate one, accepting animals from overwhelmed shelters in southern states, and finding them homes in New Jersey.
“It’s a huge responsibility,” said Kuhn. “It’s not an impulse buy, like ‘Oh, I like those shoes’ or ‘I like that bag’ or ‘I like that t-shirt.’ It’s like having a kid all of a sudden. Hopefully they’re staying adopted and people are taking great care of their dogs.”
Also attended the event were Giants linebacker Devon Kennard and running back Andre Williams.
New isolation building needed
The event was put together by Secaucus realtors Re/Max Infinity. Hundreds of people attended, according to Re/Max co-owner Rhoda Traum. “We never have this kind of outpouring,” she said. “Ever. I know a lot of people because I live here but I didn’t know half of them. We made a ton of money for the shelter.”
The goal of the event was to raise money to replace the animal shelter’s isolation room, which had deteriorated to the point of unusability. The isolation room is used for sick animals and for those coming into the shelter. Before animals are introduced to the resident population they must be checked out by a veterinarian and their health confirmed.
When the event wrapped up, the organizers had taken in close to $4,000, with a few more donations still pending. Applications for adoption had been taken out on four of the five dogs brought to the event.
_____________The same weekend that the event took place, the old isolation building was demolished. Work began on a replacement but soon hit a snag.
“When we come out it usually draws a bigger crowd, and if you have a bigger crowd it draws more attention to the cause.” –NY Giant Markus Kuhn
“The guys were ready to start the foundation and they hit something really hard,” said Councilwoman Susan Pirro, the town’s liaison with the shelter. “We may have hit some kind of bedrock. So we may redo the concept of what we’re going to do there. We still need an isolation building but we may be looking into a pre-fab where we just drop it in place and then customize it ourselves.”
Currently a trailer has been set up on the premises for isolation use until a permanent building can be completed.
In addition to the celebrities, the event featured free food and drink, a DJ, and a wide array of raffle prizes. Many local vendors and restaurants donated gifts, including a big screen TV, a mini iPad, and coupons for fine dining.
“I’m very excited,” said Chris Conte, manager of the shelter, about the turnout for the event. Although the shelter also houses kittens, none were brought out for the day. “We have tons of them now but they’re three weeks old, four weeks old. We took them out last week and I think they got a little cold.”
The dogs, however, were the true stars of the afternoon. Kids swooned over them. Adults hugged them and filled out adoption applications.
Jess Lombardi came from Verona to check out the event and fell in love with a boxer mix about a year old. She completed the paperwork and was ready to take the pup home as soon as she cleared one last hurdle. “We rent and we’re waiting to get approved for the okay from our leasing company,” she said.
Secaucus resident Thea Isabella and her daughter Giulia came not to adopt, but just to enjoy the day, bringing along their five-year-old French Bulldog Lulu to join in the fun. “She’s a rescue too,” said Thea. “So we’re here to support. It’s a great cause. My daughter’s an animal lover.”