Camden’s poverty and homicide record year has attracted the attention of a New York nonprofit group that works with abandoned and abused animals.
Guardians of Rescue hopes to establish a chapter in the city that would provide education on humane treatment of animals, micro-chipping, and free vaccinations, among other programs. The groups hopes to find a site by February.
Camden is one of the most dangerous cities (last year the city broke its homicide record with 67 slayings) in the country and has the poorest population (more than 42 percent of residents live in poverty).
“… Animal and human abuse go hand in hand. If we can help the animals on the streets there, we will also be helping the community as a whole,” Robert Misseri, president of Guardians of Rescue, said in a statement.
Guardians volunteers will go this Saturday to the Tent City homeless encampment off Admiral Wilson Boulevard, near the Ben Franklin Bridge, to teach residents to care for the animals that also live there. The group plans to also give out 10 dog houses, 100 houses for feral cats and about 3,000 pounds of cat and dog food to residents throughout the city, Guardians spokeswoman Cher Murphy said.
The group reached out to the city Tuesday to make them aware of their plans, but has not heard from any Camden officials, Murphy said. City spokesman Robert Corrales said Tuesday evening he didn't know anything about Guardians and quickly mentioned the animal control partnership the city has with the county.
The Camden County Animal Alliance, created in 2011 to streamline the animal-control process, is working on efforts to address the county’s growing population of stray animals, said Gary Passanante, director of the County Division of Shared Services.
The increase is the result of people letting their pets go in the bad economy and because of the fast-reproducing feral cat population, Passanante said.
The county welcomes “more help,” but it doesn’t want other groups to interfere with what already is offered or planned, county spokesman Dan Keshean said.
“Structure is being put in place,” he said.