Downeast Dog News

Rescue of the Month: SPCA of Hancock County

A Life-Saving Shelter Serving Local Animals
By Susan Spisak | Aug 01, 2020

Founded in 1911, the SPCA of Hancock County is committed to providing shelter and care for abandoned, stray, and surrendered animals and educates the public on proper and humane animal care. Since opening the doors of its expanded facility in Trenton in October 2010, the organization has found new homes for thousands of dogs and cats. Their mission hasn’t change during today’s unsettling era – it’s just being handled differently.

Kaitlyn Mullen, Director of Operations, shared happenings at the shelter. They remained closed to the public as mandated – but she was stunned by the number of folks who stepped up in a variety of ways to help them accomplish their goals.

There was a huge increase in fosters – people who were sheltering-in-place offered to nurture animals in their homes. This was helpful as they had an increase in owner relinquished pets. She said other shelter heads indicated they were facing a rise in relinquishments as well.

Mullen has been amazed by the donations. “People have been so kind about donating pet food. It keeps coming in.” Which is a good thing. Their Pet Food Pantry served an average of 6 households before COVID-19. It jumped to serving roughly 42 households in both April and May.

Adoptions happened but in a unique manner. Potential adopters filled out an application and sent it to the shelter via email or snail mail. Once approved, they were able to foster-to-adopt (FTA) the dog they were interested in, in their home. This FTA process is often used by rescues without a physical shelter, and it’s a great way to see if the humans mesh with that 4-legged companion.

If the match worked out, contracts were signed, and the new family member was officially welcomed. If the pet didn’t work out, he’d go back to the shelter where he’d continue to get exercise and TLC while awaiting a perfect home.

The nonprofit is preparing to open back up to the public on August 1. The staff is training in all necessary protocols – increased cleaning and sanitizing, distancing, and learning the CDC guidelines for shelters, especially as it relates to their cat population. Many cat cages had been housed in the lobby. Now they’re repurposing their conference room as the “Cat Room.” They can accommodate 16 dogs in-house, and she anticipates being “at capacity” as the norm.

Mullen understands that potential dog adopters want personal interaction, so they’ll have meet and greets by appointment in their large outside play yard which will allow for distancing. “That way hopefully we can help people make that connection that so many really want before they take that pet into their home,” Mullen said.

There’s a need for volunteers for front desk duties, dog and cat care, cat matchmaking, fostering, and those with fundraising, marketing, and event planning skills. Donations needed include bleach, plastic gloves, and printer paper.

For more info including their adoption and volunteering applications, visit The SPCA of Hancock County is located at 141 Bar Harbor Rd. in Trenton. You can call them at 207.667.8088.