Battleground Bayonne: Residents go to war with Santini over animal control


Animal lovers, many affiliated with the Liberty Humane Society, wanted the Bayonne Council to understand that they are completely against the city using a new animal control provider. 


Before the meeting started, a protest against Geoff’s Santini’s New Jersey Animal Control and Rescue was hosted in front of City Hall.

The movement was spearhead by Peter Franco, a longtime nemesis of the Mayor Jimmy Davis administration, and Irene Borngraeber, the executive director of the Liberty Humane Society – the former animal control provider.

The new $87,500 contract was approved at the council’s November 10th meeting, though Franco and Borngraeber both argued that the contract was deficient when addressing the board.

Several other residents also expressed their dissatisfaction with Bayonne leaving behind LHS, including Heather Sheppard.

Additionally, several speakers also had an issue with NJACR using Cliffside Park’s Bergen County Protect and Rescue, given that the founder of the facility, Vincent Ascolese – Santini’s brother-in-law – is facing animal cruelty charges for allegedly slicing a baby deer’s throat (h/t NJ Advance Media).

Vision Media’s Paul Swibinski, who represents NJACR, the Township of North Bergen and various other Hudson County agencies, took the podium to the chagrin of the crowd – who quickly began to berate him.

Swibinski continued on as protesters began to walk out of the meeting during his speech, citing that Santini’s 23-year track record is unblemished and it is unfair to condemn him using guilty by association arguments.

3rd Ward Councilman Gary La Pelusa threw a curveball by asking the council to rescind the contract to NJACR, noting that they are already contracted by nine other municipalities and stating his issues with their affiliated animal shelters in Lodi and Cliffside Park.

La Pelusa also expressed an interest in working with LHS in the future, but at the end of the day, the rest of the council didn’t bite and no further action on the matter was taken at the meeting.

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  1. I hope they don’t hire Santini he’s another Sacco puppet!! He’s another one of Vainieri’s lap dogs who by the way several people have said santini doesn’t like Arab people and other cultures

  2. Me Santini as you can clearly check does Diplomatic Security for the United Arab Emirates check his LinkedIn profile you should check your facts before making derogatory statements .
    He’s been involved with the Royal family ( Muslim) for many years so state facts not nonsense

  3. Santini also grew up in a multi cultured Spanish neighborhood and speaks fluent Spanish wow how the people on here don’t know Santini or have any real comments
    except there own political agenda

  4. I think the vast majority of people fighting to keep LHS and fighting to keep Santini’s for profit company away from our pets have their heart in the right place and are going off simple common sense. The shelter he has provided is very small, more difficult to get to, has less volunteers. Also, the shelter is doing the best they can to handle pet issues from nine other towns. Plus there are just too many red flags about this new company that makes people uneasy. Where there is smoke there is fire and we don’t want to wait till it becomes a hell for our pets. Also little things that infuriate myself and others is when Santini goes on record in the paper saying all wildlife will be taken to a rescue when they do not take in wildlife from animal control. If he is been in this business for 23 years he should know that. Bottom line we want the largest, closest shelter to us for our growing community. Bayonne’s pets deserve the same level of care as Jersey City and Hoboken’s.

  5. 200 + volunteers and workers in Bayonne and LHS work very very hard and long hours to help the Animals of both Cities. How in the world can Santini and the 6 to 10 workers he has cover the 9 cities he is under contract for do a good job taking care of the animals? LHS is a non proofit Bayonne pays them to take care of our animals with no extra fees. Santini will be paid $80 thousand + for the contract – plus the City will have to pay vet bills – if Santini’s people “have the time” to take them to a vet PLUS the wildlife issue – Santini will pick the animal up for yet another fee. And Where will he bring them if the wildlife rescues don’t take in from animal control? Where will he house them? What will he do with them? We want answers. He was to much of a coward to get up and speak for himself – because of his past record with animal – he has no defense. If this contract goes through we will be looking at yet another “Johnson Street” abuse story. Santini, Ascolese and Sacco are bad news for the Animals.

  6. @.Chris – You really hit that one on the head! Good work! Opaque systems like Santini’s have no place in the growing compassionate care revolution despite the difficulties of animal control people having their judgements questioned. The overall betterment of the animals their selves should come first. And his selection of “no-kill shelters” is just another smoke-screen.

  7. The truth is his “non kill” shelter brings all the animals to this 2 car garage (see photo in artical update) with the dogs piled on top of each other in one of the garages. This place is in Cliffside Park. See for your self. 302 2nd. St. This place has no room to even walk never mind room for 11 towns of Animals him and his brother inlaw have contracts for animal control with.