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Cory Booker

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My Birthday Wish to End Animal Cruelty

Posted: 04/06/11 09:51 AM ET

Recently a heinous incident of animal cruelty took place in our city and shocked the world. On March 16th, the day before St. Patrick's Day, a 1-year-old pit bull was found inside a trash bag, starved and near death after having been thrown down a trash chute. At the time of his rescue by a heroic and caring maintenance worker, he weighed only 20 pounds -- less than half of what doctors considered normal weight. He was quickly transferred to a trauma unit at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, where they found him to be severely anemic and malnourished, requiring a blood transfusion in order to survive. For his miraculous recovery and the holiday on which he was found, he has been dubbed "Patrick the miracle dog." Despite his horrific abuse, Patrick is expected to recover fully into a happy, healthy dog.

Patrick's story is one of countless instances of animal cruelty taking place daily around the world. It is a reminder that many animals suffer appalling abuse, and without our help, cases like this will end even more tragically. It is my hope that through spreading awareness and working together, we can help save many of these defenseless animals from abuse and neglect.

For almost two years, my administration has been working hard to establish a state-of-the-art animal shelter in Newark. Thus far, we have identified and are preparing a site, and have architects working on the design. This facility seeks to serve other New Jersey municipalities in Essex and Hudson counties that desperately need other options for housing and caring for homeless animals. By working to build a modern, state-of-the-art shelter through public and private funding, and by employing innovative policies to improve responsible pet care, decrease birthrates, increase adoptions, and help keep animals with their responsible caretakers, we believe that Newark's animal shelter operations can become a model for the rest of the nation. Our ambitious goal is to one day be able to save every savable dog and cat in this new shelter.

For my birthday, my wish is that you join our cause to help spread awareness of Patrick's story and animal abuse, and, if possible, contribute toward the construction of "Patrick's Place" -- the animal shelter which we hope to build in Newark. Patrick's abuser claimed she could no longer care for her dog -- it is our hope that by providing this additional facility in our city, more animals can be rescued from unnecessary neglect and abuse. Any money we raise not used for this project will be donated to a local organization for the protection and care of animals.

Newark will be known as a city that cares not only about its people, but its animals, too.