Obits: Nina Austenberg

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  July-August 2013:

New Jersey activist Nina Austenberg,  76

Nina Austenberg,  76,  died on May 25,  2013 at her home in Flanders,  New Jersey.  

“After many years serving United Methodist churches with her husband,  the Reverend Kenneth Austenberg, Mrs. Austenberg became active in animal protection,”  recalled the Bergen Daily Record.  “She was involved with much of the significant animal welfare legislation of the last forty years,  including New Jersey laws to ban the steel-jaw leghold trap,  strengthen criminal penalties for dogfighting,  and allow pets in some types of senior citizen housing.  She considered her career highlight to be her work on the state’s groundbreaking Animal Population Control Fund spay/neuter program,  and the ‘Animal Friendly’ license plate that helps to fund it.”

Austenberg from 1969 to 2009 represented the Humane Society of the U.S.,  at first as Northeast Regional Director,  and later,  as HSUS grew and the region was subdivided among more representatives,  as Mid-Atlantic States and New Jersey Regional Director.  

But,  e-mailed her daughter Anita Shotwell,  “It was my mom’s explicit wish that she not be recognized in any way by HSUS,  nor did she want any contributions to HSUS made in her name.  She still very much appreciated the work of many former colleagues,   but felt that she had been betrayed by some senior staff when she was terminated from her job [and] was removed by HSUS leadership from her volunteer position on New Jersey’s Domestic Companion Animal Council,  a council she had chaired since inception.”  

Austenberg named the Popcorn Park Zoo,  operated by the Associated Humane Societies of New Jersey,  and the Raptor Trust to receive memorial donations.

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