Shelter seeks funds to keep pets warm this winter

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PARIS — The Responsible Pet Care Shelter of Oxford Hills needs help to keep more than 100 cats and a dozen or so dogs warm this winter.

Shirley Boyce, president of the no-kill, nonprofit shelter and adoption center for cats and dogs, said the shelter is facing a “crisis” situation if it does not raise enough money to keep the building heated this winter.

The shelter is trying to raise $8,000 to meet that need.

The Help Keep Them Warm fuel campaign was started in mid-November with an online Facebook and email blitz, but Boyce said the response was “lackluster.”

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Boyce said in general donations and money from fundraisers have been down this past year, leaving the shelter funds “dangerously low.”

“We need help from the public now, or we will be facing a crisis situation,” she said.

In May 2013 the shelter relocated from a small building in Norway to a 5,600-square-foot former school at 9 Swallow Road in Paris. The $295,000 purchase price was raised by community members. In August of that year the group received a $50,000 grant from USDA Rural Development to retrofit the building.

“We are in a larger shelter now with higher costs to heat and cool it,” Boyce said.

Boyce said the first phase of energy efficiency was done last year. Additional insulation was put in the ceilings, and doors that were not energy efficient were replaced, along with other work.

The second phase, to renovate the dog kennel with a much lower ceiling to improve energy efficiency, is expected to begin soon using a USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Grant.

Earlier this year, the Humane Society of the United States featured Responsible Pet Care in its latest edition of Animal Sheltering magazine. The article described the plight of the shelter in Norway, the community’s effort to raise funds to buy the new facility in neighboring Paris and to retrofit the building as a shelter for dogs and cats, alleviating its overcrowding issue in Norway and expanding services.

Responsible Pet Care was established in 1997 by a small group of people who recognized the plight of unwanted cats in the Oxford Hills region. The founding group pooled their money to purchase what they described as a very neglected piece of property on Route 118 in Norway that had two buildings. The better of the two was cleaned, painted and fitted with cages and equipment to house cats and kittens.

Donations may be mailed to Responsible Pet Care of Oxford Hills, P.O. Box 82, Norway, ME 04268 or contributions may be made online at www.rpc.petfinder.com, Boyce said.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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