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SHELTER STRUGGLES TO CARE FOR HUNDREDS OF SEIZED DOGS
October, 06 2007

KENNEBUNK They crowd up against the fence, noses pressed to the openings. They gambol over each other, rolling in the grass. One works on a hole he's dug next to the fence line, hoping for a taste of freedom.

These are the puppies of the former J'Aime Kennel in Buxton, and according to authorities, they've already escaped once from the terrible conditions they were allegedly living under. They came to live here, at the Animal Welfare Society in Kennebunk, after the Aug. 21 raid where police seized 249 dogs from owners John and Heidi Frasca, whom police say were running a puppy mill.

Last week, after the Frascas failed to show up at a court hearing, a judge ruled that all of the dogs are the property of the state. While the time for appeals runs out, and the dogs are treated for the diseases and parasites shelter workers say they were suffering from, the dogs will remain sheltered and not be put up for adoption.

In Kennebunk, that means there are more than 70 new dogs to be fed, cared for and cleaned up after, and another 130 still being cared for at the site itself. Those dogs, AWS program coordinator Carol Ann MacKinnon says, are being moved to a building in Portland this week.

"We can provide them with a higher level of care there," she says.

Much of the care they're receiving is coming not only from staff, but from dedicated volunteers, MacKinnon says.

"Every day we have staff and volunteers both going to the site and taking care of animals here," she says. "Still, it's hard on the budget and hard on the staff."

Donations have helped. Once the public first heard about the story, they started pouring in.

"We received a real outpouring from the community," MacKinnon said. "A couple of major donors gave us a lot of dog food, so we're all set on that."

Other items needed for the dogs' care, though, still have to come from the shelter's budget. That's why MacKinnon is hoping people will give what they can to help.

"They can donate money, if possible," she says. "This way we can put it toward what we do need."

Eventually, that will include new homes for the dogs, she says but not just yet. Still, that hasn't stopped folks from trying.

"We've gotten all kinds of calls," MacKinnon laughs. "People want to adopt them when and if they're available."

The variety of dogs seized is pretty wide. There are German Shepherds and French bull dogs, papillions and poodles and mini Australian shepherds, among others.

They stare out of their cages with soft brown eyes and startlingly blue ones, hoping for a new start. If it's up to the AWS workers, they'll surely get that.

Credit : By Laura Dolce ldolce@seacoastonline.com


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