What People are Reading
- What a very sad and shocking
2 years 29 weeks ago
- Smart Meters
2 years 32 weeks ago
- 100 year old house burns
2 years 32 weeks ago
- Column 2-10 re Treason
2 years 41 weeks ago
- Radical Difference
2 years 42 weeks ago
- This activity is such a
2 years 50 weeks ago
- Okay Great we got a sign!
2 years 50 weeks ago
- Hate Crime a Sad Moment Indeed
3 years 1 day ago
More in Featured
RPC seeks donations to get a bigger space
SPACIOUS — Responsible Pet Care has its eye on purchasing this building at 9 Lower Swallow Road in Paris in order to accommodate the increasing number of cats and dogs it's been receiving recently. Shirley Boyce, the president of RPC's Board of Directors says this facility is two to three times bigger than the current shelter in Norway.
OXFORD HILLS — Over the past year, Responsible Pet Care has seen an influx of pets – particularly dogs – and according to Shirley Boyce, president of RPC's Board of Directors, it's becoming a crisis.
An overcrowding of pets, said Boyce, means more space is needed to accommodate their needs, as well as the overall needs of the shelter.
"We are overcrowded with cats every summer," she said, "and it gets a little better through the winter, but ... starting this past May or June, we started getting twice as many dogs as we usually do."
Boyce said other shelters have had less space and are not as helpful in taking in RPC's overflow. "We just don't have the space," said Boyce.
In response, RPC is seeking donations to purchase a larger building that is estimated to cost $350,000, said Boyce. She said it is also looking to buy new accessories, like an outside 30-by-30-foot dog pavilion.
RPC is currently housed at 132 Waterford Road in Norway.
The new building, located at 9 Lower Swallow Road in Paris, is twice as large as the current facility, said Boyce.
According to Boyce, overcrowding and stress of the animals, especially dogs, can cause dangerous situations for employees and volunteers who handle them.
"Cats aren't nearly as dangerous as dogs are when there is overcrowding," said Boyce, "and a lot of the animals are what they call the bully breeds, like pit bulls, rottweilers, boxers – those kinds of dogs."
"They don't do well in cages for long periods of time," she said. "We get quite a few of them and some of them ... come from owners who haven't raised them correctly.
"When you take dogs that have those issues and squeeze them in cages side by side, they get stressed and they can be dangerous and bite. We have not had any bites, but there have been some close calls," Boyce explained.
Boyce said there also isn't enough space around the shelter to provide play areas for the animals without using up the parking space.
"The one we have directly behind the building, is really part of the driveway," said Boyce of the play pen.
Too many dogs
In April 2011, the Allen Hill Animal Shelter in Oxford closed its doors, meaning the local dogs it once served for 30 years needed to be sheltered elsewhere, Boyce said.
Consequently, RPC was approached by area town managers to fill the need, she said. The problem, however, is that RPC's current facility does not have the space to do so.
Because of the urgency, RPC made room in its small leased veterinary space for four inside dog kennels.
During its first year taking in stray dogs, said Boyce, intake numbers were less than anticipated; but since this past June, the number of dogs increased.
"If you can exercise them [dogs] properly, they do a little better when they are confined for longer periods of time," said Boyce, explaining the need for more space.
According to Boyce, dogs not claimed by owners were either adopted out or transferred to larger shelters that have more space, like Kanine Kare in Paris.
In addition to severe space limitations, she said, the current facility is in very poor condition and there is a lack of usable land.
"We're struggling where we are."
Boyce said heating costs currently exceed $6,000 and that there are a number of repairs that should be done immediately, such as a partial new roof, renovating the kitchen and replacing its rotted floor, as well as replacing the oil tank.
"But we're holding off on repairs in hopes of getting into the new building," said Boyce.
Bigger, better space
Boyce believes the new location will fill RPC's immediate need.
"It's amazing what a difference it would make for the welfare of the animals as well as the employees," said Boyce.
"We would really like to be in this [new] building, where it's more efficient," she said of the Paris facility.
But there's one thing, she said – RPC has already made an offer on the building at 9 Lower Swallow Road and only has until December 1 to meet its $350,000 goal.
"It would be harder to move in the winter and are hoping to raise the funds by December," said Boyce. RPC also plans to do some renovations on the building like adding ventilation, lowering the ceiling, putting up partitions and redesigning the space, she said.
A larger space means fewer cats – of the 85-100 it houses daily – will be caged, allowing them to roam about the space, said Boyce.
Dog kennels, which are currently not large enough for its five dogs, will be two to three times bigger and the animals will have more room to play outside, she said.
If RPC can purchase the new building, Boyce said it will be able to house 12-15 dogs. She said RPC also plans to provide the first public dog park in the Oxford Hills.