Drew Desjardins of Mr. Drew and His Animals Too in Lewiston holds a rescued tarantula in September 2021. “These are not a dangerous animal,” he said, because they only flick hair into the eyes of enemies. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal file

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect additional information from the owner of the space Mr. Drew has been renting.

LEWISTON — The community was rallying this week to help exotic animal rescuer Drew Desjardins move his business into a new location.

Desjardins, operator of the popular Mr. Drew and His Animals Too, announced in January that he was looking to move out of his current digs at Pepperell Mill at 550 Lisbon St. This week, it was learned that Desjardins had recently been given a 30-day notice to vacate that location and so the need for a move became more urgent.

To help with the move, a pair of local women launched a GoFundMe campaign to help Desjardins and his family to relocate.

“While they have been in the process of trying to find a larger space to accommodate their ever-growing home, they did not expect to find themselves in such a predicament,” according to the fundraiser page. “February 25th they will be forced out of their current location. Unfortunately, they are still in the process of securing sufficient funding so they can continue to bring you and your families better services, bigger events, and most importantly, protect and save animals who don’t always get the best rep but deserve protection. If you know Mr. Drew — or the Desjardins — you know how dedicated he is to serve his community and his love of animals. He is a treasure worth pouring into, as he has poured into us all these years. With the rising costs of expenses, we need to support his dream to continue to do the powerful work he does, and so that we can continue to experience the magic that is Mr. Drew and His Animals Too.”

The fundraiser was launched Wednesday afternoon. A day later, it had generated more than $5,000 in donations and appeared to be picking up speed as word spread on social media.


Desjardin’s operation has become increasingly popular over recent years among area children, parents and educators, growing from a small, in-home operation to become one of the foremost exotic animal rescues and education centers in the state. The organization, supported by admission fees and donations, cares for several hundred reptiles, amphibians, mammals and more.

“We can’t stop taking in animals,” he said in January. “Who else is going to do it? You know, what we’re taking in, the humane society doesn’t touch.”

Since 2018, Desjardins has been renting space at the Pepperell Mill, which is owned by local businessman Scott Ferland. Desjardins said his operation has outgrown that location and the drafty mill is tough on animals in cold weather.

Ferland, in response to recent publicity about the situation, said Desjardins is several months behind in rent and that he ran up more than $11,000 in electrical power charges that have not been paid. In all, Ferland says, Desjardins owes roughly $20,000 for rent and electricity.

“We have been trying to work with him to get caught up,” Ferland said on Friday, “and after all the payment arrangements, he has not paid a dime.”

Ferland also disputed claims about heating problems at the mill.


“We installed heater and air conditioner units and brand new windows in his spaces five years ago that can be seen from outside,” he said.

Desjardins search for a new location is said to be continuing, now hastened by the notice that he needs to vacate Pepperell Mill in just nine days. Desjardins has said the operation will require at least 6,000 square feet to enable them to have separate areas for the education center, retail and quarantined animals.

The GoFundMe effort, organized by Chelsea Briggs and Cheryl Horton, is seeking $25,000 to facilitate the move.

“We, as customers, fans, community supporters and friends can support this incredible business and family in the form of donations so they can secure their next location while also having to move hundreds of animals and all that’s associated with them,” the women wrote. “This is going to be an immense undertaking! The costs to operate this type of business are substantial. While The Drews have always kept costs low, and offerings great, the reality is that costs like electricity, food, supplies, and more, are greater than many of our understandings.

“If we want Mr. Drew to continue to show up for us at schools, community events, parties and shows,” the fundraiser narrative continues, “to continue to rescue animals in need of saving and to educate us, then WE need to do our part and show up for him.”

By early evening Thursday, nearly 100 people had donated to the cause and more were learning about it through social media.

Desjardins was exceedingly grateful for the effort and said the extra pressure to move out was not causing him undo stress.

“It is a blessing, really,” he said. “I always work best under pressure. I cannot say to everyone how grateful I am for the support and love. They don’t know how much it means to my wife and I.”

The fundraiser can be found at GoFundMe.com.

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