Johnson Park in Piscataway has had animals in a little zoo there for decades. In 1999 when Hurricane Floyd hit, 10 horses drowned. Seven months ago when Ida struck, it almost happened again. Disturbing pictures, like a miniature horse chest-deep in flood water, were alarming to animal advocates.

The park and zoo are in a flood zone and animal activists had enough. They formed the group Friends of the Johnson Park Animals and urged action. They claimed the animals didn’t get adequate care and that just by virtue of being located in a flood zone they are at risk.

It’s not even the first time there was a call to close the zoo. It’s been debated in the town for years and there have been petitions and protests.

Finally, it’s been announced the zoo is closing after being there for 73 years. Is it sad? Sure. I’ve been there a number of times myself and my little boys with autism were enthralled with the goats and other animals. The zoo has also been home to horses, rabbits, sheep, llamas, pigs, birds, turkeys and deer.

Some of the animals have already been moved to new homes. Soon most will. Animal sanctuaries around the state will be taking them in.

There’s a section within the 478-acre park that’s outside of the flood zone. A dozen animals, six chickens, a cow, three horses and two goats, will be moved there. But it will be nothing like the 90-animal menagerie that had been homed there.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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