Updated with comments from township officials:
Melissa Neiss, the much-criticized
director manager of the Montclair Township Animal Shelter, resigned this morning, effective immediately, multiple Montclair Township municipal officials have told Baristanet.
Baristanet reported that Neiss was on leave on October 4, however officials would not confirm complete details.
When asked for the reason behind Neiss’s resignation, Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson tells Baristanet: “I can’t comment on it other to say I thank her for her service to the township and i wish her well with the next part of her life.”
Jackson also spoke about positive and encouraging changes for its future.
“We are moving aggressively to make our animal shelter a state of the art facility,” he says, “both its structure and its operations.”
Veterinarian Nancy Katz, vice-chair of the Montclair Animal Welfare Advisory committee, is hopeful for positive change and she urges the Township Council to adopt the committee’s recommendations regarding a new shelter director.
“It’s very easy to look at a shelter like Montclair and see the chaotic state it is in right now and point out what’s wrong with it,” Katz tells Baristanet. “It is a completely different thing to be able to envision a detailed and comprehensive plan not just to fix it but to turn it into something great and we need someone who could do the latter.
“There is no person within the shelter or health department who fits what the animal welfare committee has envisioned as shelter director,” she continues. “I think it’s great news because it gives us opportunity and opportunity is a great thing.”
Kay Sherwood, chair of the animal advisory committee, says Neiss’s resignation is a first step toward making permanent improvements in Montclair’s animal control and sheltering services.
“We look forward to a different and better future for our town’s animals,” she says.