(NEWS CENTER Maine) -- Midcoast Humane will offer more than 20 rescued dogs from an animal neglect case on Saturday and interest is already high.
Phones rang constantly Friday at the shelter with questions about how and when to adopt them. Staff said they expect big crowds, and will be handing out tickets to the people who line up before the shelter opens at noon.
The dogs were taken in after they were seized from a home on River Road in August after a months-long investigation by police and Maine Animal Welfare staff, who found the dogs were being neglected: sitting in kennels for hours in their own waste, with sores on their bodies.
"We think they were depressed," said Dr. Mandie Wehr, a veterinarian at Midcoast Humane. ". There is an emotional toll when you are taking care of that many animals that come in in rough shape that come in from that type of a situation at first. It is hard to see them at that start, but it is rewarding by the end."
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Wehr said caring for the dogs over the three month span drained the shelter's budget, costing them $71,000.
"We budget for a set number of animals. When you have an unexpected number of animals come in and they move out quickly you can kind of recover. Because they came in and stayed with us for over three months, that has a much longer term effect. We have to recover that money somewhere, and we are not really sure where we’re going to recover it," said Wehr.
Each of the dogs is unique. Some are happy and social and will fit well in most homes. Others are still shy, and Wehr said may take longer than six to eight weeks to get used to their new homes.
"Usually, animals that come from situations like this will take longer to basically adapt into a home setting, because they weren’t treated as pets before," said Wehr. "Since they spent so much time in kennels, they might not know what it’s like to sit on the couch. They are going to take a little bit longer to 100% understand it they should be going to the bathroom outside. They may be a little bit more scared at first, and it may take them a little bit longer to warm up.”
Adoption fees are $399. Many of the other dogs are still pending court cases.
Maine's Animal Welfare Program receives anywhere from 500 to 800 complaints every year. However in Maine, other agencies including municipal Animal Control Officers (ACOs), sheriff departments and the State Police also handle animal welfare complaints. Unfortunately, the total number of animal welfare cases is higher than the number handled by the Animal Welfare Program. Many times the staff of the Animal Welfare Program cooperates with other agencies on specific cases.