Mark Phillips, Executive Director at EASEL Animal Rescue League, recently announced it has assumed management of the Ewing animal shelter. Phillips is pictured with Luke, age 2-3 years, who is very friendly and available for adoption.

Effective July 1, 2015, EASEL Animal Rescue League of Mercer County has been contracted to manage the Ewing Township’s animal shelter cutting expenses to taxpayers nearly in half.

Building on its success at the shelter for more than six years, the municipality and EASEL have demonstrated their commitment to animal welfare showing that government and a nonprofit can be good partners. This new arrangement provides an example to other governments on how they can work successfully with rescue groups to benefit animals.

Bert Steinmann, Ewing’s Mayor, the business administrator, and council members unanimously approved the new arrangement on June 23, 2015. The current contract is for a period of five months, with a longer-term deal under consideration to take effect in December. This is in alignment with EASEL’s goal of helping more animals and to become Mercer County’s premier animal adoption center.

While the current location at 4 Jake Garzio Road in Ewing has been working well, the needs are greater than the current facility can handle. EASELs vision includes its own building at a new location that will accommodate more animals, provide more amenities for training, play, and socialization and provide more comforts while awaiting adoption.

Hours at the shelter, located at 4 Jake Garzio Rd facility off Scotch Road in Ewing, will be expanded which should result in more animals placed. The facility will be open for adoptions now seven days a week from noon to 3 p.m. While EASEL will continue to rely heavily on volunteers to take over some of the management tasks, a few paid positions will be added.

As for other immediate changes, the public will be hard pressed to spot them. The entities have had a shared commitment for the animals working together for nearly seven years in preparing and placing animal rescues into loving homes. EASEL’s year-round off-site “Adoption Days” will continue at area business including PetSmart, PetCo, Concord Pet, PetValu, and Rosedale Mills.

EASEL’s mission is to reduce the number of unwanted dogs, cats, and horses euthanized in Mercer County, through the power of collaborative coalitions and community alliances. EASEL is known for its many other services and educational efforts. They include its microchip clinics, vet clinics, dog training, fundraising events, school and community group interactions, low income pet owner assistance, and help line for pet owners.

Both volunteers and staff are excited at the opportunity to expand its services and look forward to new programming such as a children’s animal clinic. The organization also plans to expand its animal care training and its reach in publicizing animals available for adoption.

Volunteers, fostering, and donations (financial and canned food) are top priorities. Canned dog and cat food of any kind may be dropped at the EASEL’s doorstep any time or to its adoption events. As a 501(c)3,donations may be tax deductible (easelnj.org/donate).

For those considering adoption or fostering, they are encouraged to download an application from the website easelnj.org/adopt to begin the approval process. For more information, please contact with Mark Phillips, Executive Director, at (609) 649-4253 mphillips@easelnj.org or Karen Azarchi, President at (609) 883-0540 kazarchi@easelnj.org.