OXFORD – The owner of an animal shelter whose grounds were damaged in a thunderstorm is seeking help from the public

Charles Landers, owner of the Allen Hill Animal Shelter, said the force of water coming down the hill pushed dirt and rocks onto the property and into one portion of the shelter, washed out a driveway to the building, and contaminated wells serving the shelter and his nearby home.

The interior of the shelter has been cleaned and sanitized, but the loss of the driveway has made it impossible for people to take animals to the shelter by vehicle or to allow safe passage for visitors until repairs are made, Landers said.

“You cannot allow people to go walking across this dangerous area,” he said.

The shelter has been in operation for 28 years, Landers said. His son, animal control officer Robert Larrabee, is the proprietor. Stray dogs and cats from 13 towns are taken to the shelter, where an owner can claim them or they can be put up for adoption after seven days.

Larrabee is the animal control officer for Norway, Paris, Oxford, Harrison, Otisfield, Mechanic Falls, Minot, Hebron, Buckfield, Hartford, Greenwood, Poland and Bethel.

Landers said animals picked up by Larrabee will be sent to shelters in Lewiston and Fryeburg until repairs are complete. Six cats and one dog that were in the shelter during the storm have been transferred.

The broken pavement in the driveway needs to be excavated before repairs can begin.

Landers said he did not have an estimate as to how much the restoration of the driveway will cost. He said he has received $600 in donations, and is looking for donations of money or time from contractors.

“They send a check for five, ten dollars, it’s going to help,” he said.

Landers said the damage is not covered under his insurance because it is considered flood damage, and the town is unable to help.

Oxford Town Manager Michael Chammings said the town is, by law, unable to assist in repairs on private property.

“There’s only so much we can legally do,” Chammings said.

He said the shelter is at the top of the list to receive any excess dredging material from town repairs on Allen Hill Road. The town also holds a small stormwater easement on the shelter property, and that will be cleared out.

Chammings said the town lost a combined 40 to 60 feet of road shoulder on Allen Hill Road and East Oxford Road during the storm last week.

To contact the shelter, call 743-7217 or write to 455 Allen Hill Road, Oxford, ME, 04270.

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