BELFAST, Maine — Community members are holding a dog food drive to help out the animal shelter now caring for eight dogs taken last week by state officials from a crowded Morrill mobile home. A veterinarian adopted a ninth dog from the residence.
“The living conditions were not appropriate for that many people and dogs,” Carrie Koskela of the Lincoln County Animal Shelter in Edgecomb said Friday morning. “We took in a plethora of animals.”
She said that the animals were in “fairly good condition” but were living in a home with too many animals and people.
Altogether, 19 dogs and four people were living in the home, which was occupied by members of a family that suffered a trailer fire at the end of December, she said. The family had been the subject of a petition earlier this year by neighbors concerned about the number of animals living there.
At the time of the fire, Becky Nibby, Pamela Nibby, Eleanor Hartshorn and Betsey LeSan, who are all related, were able to escape. However, a dog, two cats, a macaw, two rabbits, two ferrets and four chinchillas perished in the blaze.
Joanne Carl of Brooks started the change.org petition to create a law against animal hoarding, which garnered hundreds of signatures.
“I would like to talk about animal hoarding and how a devastating fire, locally, has brought to light a severe issue,” she told the BDN earlier this year. “You neglect an animal, it’s a form of abuse.”
Carl said Friday that she is pleased that some of the dogs have been removed from the home.
“I love animals and feel that I’m a voice for them, because they don’t have a voice,” she said.
A spokesperson for the Maine Animal Welfare Program confirmed Friday that it’s an open case and that the family has been working with the state to resolve the issue.
Maine has no laws against hoarding, or having many animals. But there are laws against neglecting or abusing animals, officials from the program told the BDN earlier this year. The laws aim to ensure animals are kept in humane, clean conditions, with enough food and veterinary care.
Carl, who is helping organize the dog food drive, said that all money and donations received will go to the Lincoln County Animal Shelter.
That will help, Koskela said. Her facility has 26 cages but 32 dogs right now and also is “overflowing” with cats.
“Any donations — whether it’s time, money, food, toys, anything that could help out is greatly appreciated,” she said. “Adoptions are always awesome, too. If anyone’s looking for a furry friend, come and check us out.”
She said that she and others assisted the state agent in the dog recovery in Morrill, and described the animals as being in “fairly good condition.”
One dog was adopted by a local veterinarian, eight dogs came to her shelter and four more will potentially be arriving there later this week. Koskela said that the family members at the home were cooperative with state officials and were saying goodbye to their dogs.
“These guys are in pretty good shape, and were fairly well-loved,” she said.
The dog food drive will take place 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, in Reny’s Plaza in Belfast.