Paterson settles OPRA lawsuit filed by animal rights activist | Paterson Times

Paterson settles OPRA lawsuit filed by animal rights activist


The city this week settled an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) violation lawsuit filed by a Morris County animal rights activist by paying out $5,194.

Animal rights activist Alan Rosenberg, who runs the NJ Animal Observer blog and social media page, filed an open records request in January seeking a year’s worth of specific Animal Control Division records containing details of animal intake and other information, according to his court complaint.

The city provided him statistics rather than actual records. He informed the city it failed to satisfy his request. The city then produced hundreds of pages of “Impound Animal Report” records.

Rosenberg was told the records will cost him $59.50 for copies. He inspected the records to find them incomplete. The documents did not contain how each animal was disposed (killed, adopted, reclaimed, died at shelter, and so forth).

Rosenberg, who advocates for no-kill policies at animal shelters, was allowed to inspect more records in March, this time documents containing how each animal was disposed, but those records were redacted.

The city redacted names of pet owners and adoptees to protect their privacy. Rosenberg complained about the redaction, but the city did not respond resulting in the lawsuit being filed in late April.

Law director Domenick Stampone told city council members the redaction turned out to be erroneous. He said the names the city was protecting were of other animal shelters that were receiving pets from the city’s animal control facility.

Council members approved the settlement paying Rosenberg’s attorney fees of $5,194 on Tuesday night.

The city presumably provided Rosenberg with unredacted versions of the documents as part of the settlement.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/animalabusewar Animal Abuse War

    there is no reason this shelter doesn't have awebsite like everyone else does. we need to know every single dog/cat that goes in,& what happens to them.not knowing doesn't give us a chance to post them & get them a home before they are murdered. it also hinders our efforts to identify & re-unite lost pets with their owners.
    it is a disgrace what goes on in paterson.
    there must be transparency,detailed record keeping & public disclosure in this shelter.
    i also demand this!
    i see more lawsuits coming in the future.there's no excuse or reason for this.

  • SF

    OPRA is 44 years old. It's time to revamp the Open Public Records Act. I'm not saying that this particular guy is monopolizing, but there are people who do. And there are a lot of people who make a lot of money off of these lawsuits when they do so. (Doesn't appear that this guy is doing that since the settlement was only for attorney fees). If Paterson invested in the software needed to make public documents available online, it would save on average $43,000 per department per year in answering Records requests.