FORT KENT, Maine — Five dogs that were found abandoned for more than a week in a rental home littered with urine, feces, cigarettes and other trash have been promised new owners in Aroostook County and other parts of the state.
Betsy Hallett, executive director of the Central Aroostook Humane Society in Presque Isle, said Friday that the dogs rescued on Dec. 24, 2014, from a rented home at 68 South Perley Brook Road all have owners waiting for them after they complete their veterinary care.
Sgt. Dalen Boucher of the Fort Kent Police Department said that the investigation initially started as a loose dog case. Officer Spencer Nadeau found a dog running loose outside 68 South Perley Brook Road and tried to bring it back to the residence. That is when he came upon the mess inside, along with four other abandoned dogs and several cats.
The landlord and owner of the property, Wayne Vaughan, later said that the home had been trashed and that the tenants had “left those animals in there for more than a week, unattended, with no food or water. It was unbelievable.”
Vaughan said he originally rented the apartment to three women, but he suspects boyfriends of the two younger women stayed there often. He said he had no idea the tenants had left or that the house was trashed until the police contacted him on Christmas Eve.
Prior to that, Vaughan said his only problem with the tenants before was that they were behind on the rent by between $3,000 and $4,000. The landlord said he had been working with them to settle the matter, but after he saw the condition of the home, he contacted the tenants and told them he was changing the locks.
Vaughan said there was no heat in the house and a pipe had frozen. The refrigerator door had been left open and there was trash all over the place, he said. Though the tenants told him they had planned to return, Vaughan said he wasn’t going to let that happen.
The names of the tenants are not being published because they have not been charged with a crime.
Fort Kent Police Chief Tom Pelletier said Friday that the former tenants have left the state, won’t return phone calls and refuse to talk to police. He said they have not returned to the area.
The investigation remains ongoing, and charges are possible, Pelletier said Friday.
The confiscated dogs — which included one cocker spaniel, one cocker spaniel-beagle mix, one Havanese and two chihuahuas — were taken to the Central Aroostook Humane Society in Presque Isle. The cats were taken to PAWS Animal Welfare Society Inc. in Fort Kent.
Hallett said at the time that the dogs were full of mats and soaked in urine and feces. The cocker spaniel had a condition called cherry eye, a disease sometimes seen in young dogs that can cause inflammation, swelling, or infection.
Another dog had an ear infection, and a third had a tumor on its chest.
On Friday, Hallett said one of the dogs needed 33 teeth removed, leaving it with just six teeth to eat with.
The tumor on the other dog turned out to be a fatty tumor and not cancerous, but the dog has an enlarged heart and other issues. The dog is being adopted by someone in Bangor.
“The dog with cherry eye will need to be on eyedrops for the rest of his life,” she said. “That dog will be going to his forever home on Tuesday, but he only has 20 percent of his vision left.”
Hallett said the facility has spent about $3,000 treating the animals, which they are responsible for. A fundraising drive has raised close to that amount, which will be split between the facility and PAWS in Fort Kent, which is treating a number of cats taken from the home.