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At last week’s Public Safety Subcommittee meeting, Sanford Police Department Animal Control Officer Lauren Masellas provided a quarterly update on her work. She was happy to report that they had a 100% return rate on stray dogs during the quarter from July 1 through September 30.


Of the 76 dogs who were reported at large, 14 were found by their owners before Animal Control got there. 27 were found by the ACO, identified by their tags or microchips, and returned directly to their owners. 17 were secured at SPD and all of those were also claimed by owners. 18 of the reported dogs were unable to be located, and may have been found by their owners.

One dog was hit by a car and killed, and was returned to its owner for disposal.

Unfortunately, Ofc. Masellas reported an unprecedented number of cruelty cases which resulted in three dogs either seized or surrendered. An additional three dogs were abandoned. She said that is extremely rare in Sanford. All six were sent to Pope Memorial in Dover. One of the dogs is now in hospice care with a terminal illness. At least three, possibly four, have found new families.


There were 24 stray cat complaints during the quarter, twelve of those were secured and taken to Another Chance Animal Rescue, five of those were retrieved by their owners. The other 12 were not found, and may have returned home on their own.

Three cats were abandoned, and there were five surrendered or seized due to abuse or neglect and those were also taken to ACAR. Four cats were secured due to the death of their owners; of those, two were claimed by next of kin. Eight cats were killed by cars during the quarter, which she said is higher than average for this time of year. One was claimed by its owner, the other seven were cremated at City expense.

Ofc. Masellas told the Sanford Springvale News that she is looking into a way to hold cats for a short period at the Police Station, as is currently done with dogs. Under Maine state law, shelters only have to hold a pet for 48 hours, then it can be put up for adoption. She said while dog owners will immediately call if their dog is lost, cat owners often wait a few days to see if the cat will return home, but by that time, if it has been taken to a shelter, it may have already been adopted out. She encouraged cat owners to immediately call if an outdoor cat doesn’t return home within a few hours. A collar or tag with identifying information would also help to get your cat back to you safe and sound.

Bears (oh my)

Ofc. Masellas noted that bears are very active this time of year. The young bears that have been kicked out of their dens by their mothers are looking for food and a cozy place to spend the winter. She has had several bear reports already this fall, but none have become a nuisance to the point where action had to be taken. She said bears are attracted to food sources including bird feeders, outdoor pet bowls and uncleaned grills.

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