Two large trailers stand side by side like tandem blue elephants in a back parking lot area of the Trenton Police Department.
Purchased by the city for $200,000 in November 2022, with an intent to relocate Trenton Animal Shelter offices and thereby create more space for canines, the trailers remain virtually unused while overcrowded conditions continue. Plus, another $200,000 has been set aside for electric and plumbing installment.
City Council members have tucked their hands under their derrières on this matter to achieve the rare double-seated accomplishment.
Paul Harris, a high-ranking official in the city’s Department of Recreation, Natural Resources & Culture, appears to have held the lead on getting the trailers operational.
Emails obtained by The Trentonian regarding the trailers include Harris writing to several employees in late May 2023, “Our goal is to have the trailers up and running by June 5.”
The Harris communication occurred on May 25, meaning that the electric and plumbing connections could have been made in just two weeks, an accomplishment that could have remedied some issues of overcrowding inside the Animal Shelter.
Mind you, Harris works in the city’s recreation department under Director Maria Richardson, not for the Department of Health & Human Services which oversees operations at the Animal Shelter. Richardson maintains her position as Acting Director of Health & Human Services although the emails never mention or copy her.
City officials, including Mayor Reed Gusciora, and Director and Acting Director Richardson, should hold a public meeting to address all issues pertaining to the Animal Shelter.
How much money is being spent to house 60 or 70 dogs inside a Yardley, Pa. kennel? Is Trenton killing dogs based on a lack of space? Should the city put down dogs to alleviate an issue of overcrowding? Where and when will the frequently talked about new animal shelter be constructed?
Gusciora has admitted that the current situation exists as unsustainable as Trenton will spend millions for housing dogs in kennels.
On Wednesday, Trenton Animal Shelter employees handled a pit bull that had been found roaming a city street. Another abandoned dog increased numbers. Eavesdropping collected this conversation.
“Here we gonna put him?” a woman asked.
“I guess put him in a cage and set the cage in the hallway,” a man responded.
“But, there’s no room,” she complained. (Exactly). That’s the issue that will not be solved by maintaining this dreadful status quo.
City Council members should end this unproductive relationship with their boss Mayor Gusciora and start working for residents, especially on our Animal Shelter problem.
One year? City leaders stand as disconnected as the utility services for the two blue trailers. One Animal Shelter employee predicted personal death, “before they hook up those trailers.” His assertion may generate action as city officials frequently work better when inspired to prove people wrong.
You should tour the area as the two blue trailers gain fame and comparisons to bridges leading no where. Mind you, the trailers set right across from the Animal Shelter and Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.
Pay no attention to the throngs of people fighting food insecurity and needing adequate shelter issues nor the dogs yelping. What an interesting setting — animals and people in a fight for their lives.
L.A. Parker is a Trentonian columnist. Find him on Twitter @LAParker6 or email him at LAParker@Trentonian.com.