NJ Aid for Animals Inc (NJAFA) was founded by Kathy McGuire in 2005 and is the only all-volunteer animal 501(c)(3) nonprofit that delivers services to Camden, New Jersey, one of the most violent and impoverished cities in the country. Although the organization has a budget under $75,000, about 1500 animals’ lives are touched every year as a result of NJAFA’s efforts.
NJAFA strives to reduce suffering of all animals and enrich animals' lives in inner city locales through advocacy and action. The organization accomplishes its goals through programs that promote education and empowerment to enhance the quality of life for animals. Funding is through private donations and 88% of donations go directly to animal-related services. The organization also employs a bookkeeper for transparency in reporting financials.
NJAFA aims to:
- Enrich the life of every animal encountered
- Provide programs for domestic animals on wellness, disease prevention, and humane education
- Promote spay and neuter with a focus on impoverished communities
- Report abuse and pursue justice for abused animals
To fulfill its mission, NJAFA’s activities include:
- FETCH. FIX. RETURN. Spay-neuter is the only proven means to reduce animal overpopulation. For low-income residents of Camden, transportation is a major barrier to accessing spay-neuter services for their pets. Also, there are no spay-neuter clinics in Camden, and the closest is 13 miles away. NJAFA has made hundreds of round trips from its sanctuary in Winslow to Camden to pick up dogs and cats from residents who don't have transportation. NJAFA returns animals to their owners on the same or following day. Animal Control impounds hundreds of stray cats and dogs annually in Camden County alone. In the long-run the “Fetch, Fix, Return” program will save taxpayer dollars currently spent on the pick-up, impounding, and euthanasia of unwanted and stray animals.
- OPERATION KNOCKOUT. To encourage young men to spay-neuter their pit bulls, NJAFA reached out to middle-weight champion Bernard Hopkins to pose for a billboard – at no cost – and “Operation Knockout” was launched. The number of pit bulls sterilized increased 175% at the low-cost spay-neuter clinic in the same time frame as the prior year. Similarly, baseball star Mike Trout was featured in a subsequent spay-neuter promotion in Cumberland County in 2015, and over 75 pit bulls were sterilized in just three weeks.
- PETS IN THE CITY. Parvo virus is a deadly disease that ranks second to hot weather trauma as the top cause of preventable canine deaths in summer months. There is no cure for Parvo once a dog is infected. Cats are susceptible to upper respiratory viruses and the Calici virus. Unfortunately, vaccines for these diseases are costly, especially for residents in low-income areas. For nine years NJAFA has been delivering life-saving low-cost vaccines to protect dogs and cats against these highly contagious diseases. Nearly 400 residents showed up to receive these vaccines at an NJAFA-sponsored event in Camden in Spring 2015.
- LOST NO MORE. NJAFA advocates for all dogs to be microchipped. If a dog is chipped, Animal Control will be able to identify the owner and either reunite a lost dog with its family or charge a culprit who has abandoned or dumped the dog. There is a very low reclaim rate at the local shelter, but Animal Control can scan the dogs when they are picked up and return them without having to bring them to the shelter. This keeps space open at the shelter and more dogs from being euthanized. Also, the people who buy dogs to use as bait or weapons and train the dogs to fight will be permanently identified through this system.
- DOGHOUSE PROJECT. In 2007, NJAFA and Whole Foods Market in Marlton raised enough money to place fifty doghouses in Camden. The doghouses, which were made of recycled wood fencing remnants and included a door flap and straw for bedding, provided much needed shelter for dogs forced to live outside in the elements. In 2011, Whole Foods Market raised money again through their “Nickels for Nonprofits” campaign and NJAFA used the funds to purchase doghouses at a considerable discount from Burger Fence Company in Mantua, who also delivered the houses.
- CRUELTY DIVISION. Kathy is a certified NJ Animal Control Officer and NJ Cruelty Investigator. Using that knowledge and training, NJAFA has a cruelty division to inform residents of their civic rights and duties and to educate residents about identifying and reporting animal cruelty.