Houlton animal shelter steps up, takes dogs from Arkansas that faced euthanization

Posted March 24, 2012, at 4:24 p.m.
Last modified March 25, 2012, at 5:33 p.m.

HOULTON, Maine — When Lorraine Monfils opened the Ark Animal Sanctuary in 2009 to provide loving homes for animals in southern Aroostook County, she didn’t place any restrictions on where the animals came from.

So when she received a letter from a no-kill shelter in Arkansas saying it might be forced to euthanize animals after its pet population grew to more than triple its capacity, Monfils knew she had to help.

“It was not a hard decision,” she said recently. “They needed help.”
That is why Monfils and others at the nonprofit, all-volunteer facility, were headed to New Hampshire on Saturday to pick up 10 dogs that need homes.

Ark Animal Sanctuary is a no-kill facility for homeless animals. Monfils said it had only one dog in residence when she got a letter from the Jackson County Humane Society in Newport, Ark.

A number of factors, including flooding that caused millions of dollars in damage last year, left a shelter with a capacity for 20 dogs sheltering 78. It recently sent out a letter to facilities across the nation asking for help.

“They are a no-kill facility like we are, but they were desperate,” said Monfils. “They did not want to euthanize any of their animals, but they were afraid they would have to if they could not find other people to help.”

Monfils said that she immediately agreed to take 10 dogs. She has found foster homes for them while she finds permanent placement.

“The oldest is 5 years old and the others are younger than that,” she said, adding that Alpha Dog Transport, an agency that takes rescue dogs to their new homes, will bring the dogs as far as Hudson, N.H. The sanctuary is spending its own time and money to bring the dogs to Maine.

“My board of directors agreed right away,” she said. “It took a month and a half to finalize everything. There are two big dogs and the others are 30- to 35-pound dogs. We are very grateful because Tractor Supply Co. [in Houlton] donated a huge amount of dog food. That has helped a lot.”

Monfils said that she is not sure whether any other shelters volunteered to take the dogs, but she hopes so.

“I could tell how relieved they were that we stepped up,” she said. “I really hope that other facilities did as well.”