Brick Township, NJ, is a true National Dog Week Community

HELP NEEDED: The Manasquan Borough (Monmouth Co. New Jersey) has agreed to introduce an ordinance banning the retail sale of puppies in that township. You can support this effort by e-mailing the Mayor of Manasquan before AUGUST 6th. gdempsey@manasquan-nj.com. SAMPLE LETTER: Please support a ban of retail puppy sales in pet stores in the town of Manasquan. This would make the community members very proud, aid helpless animals and protect consumers. (You do not have to include your town in the e-mail, but if you live in Manasquan, please be sure to).

At the Municipal Building of Brick Township, NJ, The sun set on another day at the Jersey Shore…but it really wasn’t just another day. On this early Tuesday evening, July 10th, the Brick Township Council was ready to vote on a proposal that would ban retail establishments from selling puppies.

Earlier in the year, a shop that was selling sick and neglected puppies had been successfully shut down. Coincidentally, the man who co-owned that establishment, Nat Sladkin, was due in court the following day facing several counts of animal abuse.

Sitting behind me at the council meeting was Janice Fisher, her daughter Courtney, and others who had worked so hard to make this ban a reality (maybe).  As the meeting drew on, Janice leaned forward and apologized that I had to sit through the discussion of so many unrelated issues. I told her I found the meeting interesting. But I thought, here I am in an air-conditioned room, just sitting and listening in comfort, a far cry from all the hours these dedicated animal-lovers spent in the cold, snow, wind and summer heat carrying signs to bring attention to their cause. And I thought about all the poor dogs and pups that were at that very moment languishing in discomfort and neglect in so many puppy mills across the country. I was just sitting there taking notes.

And then the big moment came. It was time to vote. I could sense the anticipation and nerves of all who had worked so hard on this.  The public was invited to speak on the issue just before the vote took place. A man and a woman spoke with Service Dogs in tow followed by a representative from the local chapter of the Humane Society.  Although I am not a fan of public speaking, I even got up and said a few words. I could tell by the expressions on the council member’s faces that they were on the side of the dogs.

Then Janice Fisher addressed the Council. She spoke of how members of our state senate were considering measures that would ban the retail sale of puppies in all cities and towns of New Jersey She also acknowledged that the neighboring Borough of Point Pleasant had successfully voted to ban puppy shops only a week earlier. Would Brick Township be next?

Before the vote was taken, each council member spoke. They shared how much they had learned through this process, and how people throughout the nation had contacted them. One had actually prosecuted cases involving dog abuse and many spoke about how important dogs were to them personally.

And then the vote was delivered… Seven “Ayes” rang out and Brick Township became  the second township on the east coast (excluding Florida) to make it official; while the existing puppy retailer would be grandfathered in, no new shop of its kind would be allowed to open in Brick, NJ.

Congratulations to the Fisher family, the army of volunteers and professionals that helped bring this about, the members of the Brick Township Council and the state of New Jersey. Two years ago, Brick Township began their annual tradition of Dog Fest each September and was declared a National Dog Week Community by Brick’s  Mayor Acropolis during its first observance.

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