The number of dogs and cats that are available for adoption at the Jersey Shore always feels overwhelming.  This year is no different.  As an animal lover, I’ve personally done my part to take in an animal or have been party to assist in finding them good homes.  It is an enormous responsibility to take an animal in as part of your family.  Be careful before you make that decision.  Not everyone is cut out for the job of "pet owner".

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We’ve seen the commercials on TV that pull at the heartstrings.  The sad faces of these poor helpless dogs seem to look right into your soul.  The abuse these animals endured is unthinkable.  You can’t help but to feel their pain.  Yes, animals do have emotions.  Anyone who abuses an animal should be sentenced to the same type of abuse.

Rich DeSisto

There are other types of animal abuse that most people don’t recognize.  It pains me to see viral videos of people driving up to the woods and leaving their dogs behind.  The sight of that poor family member looking confused as they watch their trusted owner drive away is heart-wrenching.

The most frustrating of them all is when people make the decision to adopt a pet, they treat it like an object and not a living soul, only to at some point bring the pet back to a shelter.  This may seem like a safe choice for the animal, but think about what you are doing.  You made the choice to welcome this animal into your home.  You gave it a name.  You bonded.  You both fell in love.  Now, for your own selfish reasons you decide to essentially break up with your pet.  NO!  Please if you are making the decision to adopt an animal, please understand this is a decision for life!

Rich DeSisto

In the case of my current best friend, Ziggy, he chose me as his human.  I was interested in adopting an older cat at Beacon Shelter, only to find out he was having some issues.  As I was about to leave, the owner said, “why don’t you take a look in the kitten room before you go”?  My first reaction was, no way, I do not want the responsibility of a kitten.  It is too much work.  (I took my own advice there).  Needless to say, I entered the room which was crawling with about 50 kittens.  As soon as I closed the door, this grey tabby walked right up to me, climbed my leg, and forced me to cradle him in my arms.  He was about 6 months old with eyes that looked right into my soul.  From the moment we locked eyes, he never looked away.  And he purred like I never heard before.  I remember saying, “I guess I am taking you home”.  The door to the kitten room had a window.  Inside the kitten room was a table high enough for kittens to see through.  As I am filling out the adoption papers with my back to the door, the owner nudges me to turn around.  Wouldn’t you know, Ziggy was watching me through the glass.  To this day, he still looks at me the same as he did the first day we met.  He just turned 12.  The bond that we formed is immeasurable.  He IS truly my best friend.

Rich DeSisto

Below is a list of some Jersey Shore shelters with dogs and cats looking for new homes.  These animals deserve a good home, and the shelters need your help.  Before you visit, have a talk with your family and make sure if you decide to adopt, it’s for life.

Ocean County Animal Facility 360 Haywood Rd, Stafford Township, NJ 08050


Township of Toms River 235 Oak Ave, Toms River, NJ 08753

(Louis C. Hochman /

Jersey Shore Animal Center 185 Brick Blvd, Brick Township, NJ 08723

Dog rescued from a residence in Neptune City (MCSPCA)

Save Rescue Center 1594 Lakewood Rd #5, Toms River, NJ 08755

Getty Images for Nutrish

Associated Humane Societies 1 Humane Way, Forked River, NJ 08731

Bailey is available for adoption at Puppy Love Pet Rescue


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