Director at NJ’s largest shelter charged with animal cruelty
NEWARK — The longtime executive director of New Jersey's largest animal shelter system has been charged with animal cruelty.
The NJSPCA charged Roseann Trezza, 71, with eight criminal counts of animal cruelty and eight civil counts of animal cruelty for incidents at the Newark shelter belonging to the Associated Humane Societies.
Trezza is accused of failing to provide necessary care to multiple animals. She had been director of the AHS for over 40 years. The AHS also had locations in Tinton Falls and the Popcorn Park Zoo in Forked River.
Violations range from filthy water bowls to commingling sick and healthy animals.
The charges followed visits over several months by the the state Department of Health, Newark Department of Health and New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Humane Police.
An inspection in August by the Department of Health revealed numerous violations for no protection from weather in the animal enclosures as well as for damp floors and poor record keeping.
"The housing facilities for animals were in disrepair. There were holes in the walls in numerous rooms that were large enough for rodents to traverse. Concrete flooring and block walls were in severe disrepair throughout the entire facility ... The concrete flooring was peeling off in sheets," according to the inspection report.
Repairs were made but not to the standards of the inspector. Concrete was not smoothed over, leaving folds and indentations, for example. Runoff from an air conditioning unit was not repaired.
"The NJSPCA Humane Police will continue to work with our partners to monitor the situation at the shelter to make sure conditions continue to improve," the NJSPCA said in a statement.
Trezza is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 7.
The NJSPCA, meanwhile, is also under a microscope after a scathing report by the State Commission of Investigation about the private law enforcement agency.