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Shelter in Stratham straining to care for dozens of pets

By JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent

January 16. 2018 11:44PM
Jen Frey, an adoption counselor at the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Stratham, holds one of the rabbits rescued from an Exeter home last week. (JASON SCHREIBER/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)
One of the 10 cats removed from an Exeter home last week remains in protective custody at the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)
How to contribute
The SPCA is asking for the public's help to care for the animals in protective custody. Tax-deductible contributions can be made to the SOS Fund through the SPCA's website, www.nhspca.org.

Gifts to the SOS Fund can also be made by phone at 772-2921, ext. 102 or by mail: New Hampshire SPCA, PO Box 196, Stratham, NH 03885.



STRATHAM — The New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is under financial pressure as it pays for the care of more than 50 animals seized by authorities in several raids around the state.

Most recently, the SPCA took custody of 10 cats, five rabbits, three gerbils, two turtles and a guinea pig removed from a residence on Wanda Lane in Exeter after they were allegedly abandoned when their owner was evicted two weeks ago.

The SPCA is also caring for 31 German shepherds and three rabbits recently removed from properties in Bristol and Alexandria; their owner faces charges. A dog from another case is also in protective custody.

While the animals from Bristol and Alexandria are being housed elsewhere, Lisa Dennison, the SPCA’s executive director, said the shelter is still financially responsible for their care.

“Even if somebody is found guilty and charged restitution, it can be years and years and years before that restitution is realized,” said Dennison, who insisted that legislative changes are needed.

Dennison said she can’t recall a time recently where the shelter had so many animals in protective custody. She said it’s unknown when the animals will be able to find new homes, as they remain held as “live evidence.”

“Living in a cage is not meant to be a lifestyle. It’s a short-term solution,” she said.

Dennison said animals can become “kennel crazy.”

“They just don’t have enough opportunities to get out of their cages and be socialized. It’s a terrible way to live,” she said.

While the SPCA will find a way to care for the animals, Dennison said that having so many in protective custody is putting a financial strain on the facility.

In the Exeter case, police said Animal Control Officer Neal Jones learned from a Rockingham County sheriff’s deputy on Jan. 11 that numerous animals were inside the home. The deputy was there as part of the eviction process.

Police said a rabbit and guinea pig were also found dead and they’re now awaiting the results of necropsies to determine how they died.

Police said the homeowner reportedly had a plan in place for someone to care for the animals since Jan. 2. Police said they’re still investigating “what exactly occurred with that plan to arrive at these conditions.”

Steve Sprowl, the SPCA’s field services manager, said the animals were hungry when they arrived. He said the cats and rabbits were drinking as if they hadn’t had water in days. They were examined by a veterinarian and found to be thin and suffering from flea infestation; some had ear mites.

The guinea pig was euthanized because of its condition.

jschreiber@newstote.com


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