Canton Animal Control Officer Rich Burton delivers cats Jan. 18 to the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society in Lewiston. The cats were part of an overrun colony found last month in a construction trailer without power and water service on River Road in Canton. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

CANTON — The town clerk told the Select Board at Thursday’s meeting that according to new laws of the state’s Animal Welfare Program, the state won’t pay for any of the cleanup needed for a trailer on River Road.

The trailer, housing a colony of an estimated 50 feral cats, was first discovered just days before Christmas after flooding forced a man out of the trailer, according to the Sun Journal.

The trailer is considered a biohazard and has since been condemned by the town. Thirty-four feral cats were collected, and buckets full of human waste and animal excrement covered the floors.

According to information from the Animal Welfare Program’s Animal Control Officer Municipality Assistance Program, the “AWP will not accept referrals or cover any cost for a case after ACO or town has been handling it on their own.”

Town Clerk Angela Varnum told the board, “So, I’m not sure where we go from here.”

After reviewing that information, Selectwoman Michelle Larrivee said she thought that “the (state law) steps don’t make sense.”


Chairman Brian Keene agreed, saying, “it didn’t make a lot of sense to me.”

Larrivee explained via text message Friday to the Rumford Times, “So, because our ACO, health officer, and CEO (code enforcement officer) responded first, we can’t get assistance (for the cleanup of the property).”

Town Health Officer Donna Hebert said at Thursday’s meeting that she put a condemned sign on the trailer door and added caution tape around the building. She also noted the building should be burned down.

“A controlled burn is the only way you’re gonna get rid of (the building and excrement). And it’s not only in the trailer, it’s in the outbuilding; it has pails (of human waste) as well as the pails that were inside,” Hebert said.

In other business, the Select Board will hold a work session to discuss a draft version of a solar farm ordinance for the town on Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. in the Town Office meeting room.

On Jan. 11, residents approved a 180 day moratorium for solar farm projects in town.


Currently, there is one solar farm on Edmunds Road in Canton, but there are “at least three other possible (solar farms)” interested in having their businesses in town, Chairman Keene said at a December board meeting.

Also, the town will hold an informational meeting to discuss an all-terrain vehicle access route on Staples Hill Road on Feb. 29 at 6 p.m in the Town Office meeting room.

Brian Jordan of the Canton Trail Riders ATV Club told the board that representatives from the Maine Warden Service and the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office will be attending the meeting.

“The plan is everybody on Staples Hill is going to get a postcard, just to make sure they are all informed (about the upcoming meeting),” said Chairman Keene, adding that the information about the meeting date and time will also be posted on social media.

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