Bonnie Waterman sat on a step just outside the kennel at the Animal Refuge League Tuesday as four dogs that had recently been seized by Buxton police because of neglect frolicked around her.

If the dogs health had suffered any long-term damage due to malnutrition, it wasn’t apparent as they ran around wagging their tails in the small yard enclosed by a chainlink fence. And, if the dogs bore any resentment toward humans because of the treatment they had endured, it certainly wasn’t apparent as one of them, a black shepherd mix, came up to Waterman and licked her face.

“They’re eating very well and have gained weight and gained socialization skills,” said Waterman, the kennel manager at the Animal Refuge League in Westbrook.

The shelter has been caring for five adult dogs and a cat that Buxton police seized March 30 from a feces-strewn trailer on Rose Ridge Way. Police also seized a pony and two goats from the property. Those animals have been taken to the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals in Windham.

The owner of the trailer, Mark Coosard, is now facing an April 19 court date in connection with a felony charge of cruelty to animals.

The animals wouldn’t be available for adoption for some time because Coosard has not yet relinquished ownership of them.

“They all should be highly adoptable when ready,” Waterman said.

Police went to Coosard’s trailer on Rose Ridge Way after receiving a call about two dogs that were running loose and appeared underfed. Officers found the five dogs and one cat along with several dead animals in a trailer. The bodies of dead animals included several cats and dogs. The body of a horse was also found on the property.

Coosard was charged on March 31.

The dogs and cat were taken to the Emergency Animal Clinic in Portland and were tested for diseases before being taken to the Animal Refuge League. Police said they were thin and treated for malnutrition. Some had sores and infections and one dog was missing an eye.

The dog with one eye, a terrier, had a vet appointment Tuesday. The other four seized dogs included two beagles, a pit bull mix and the black shepherd mix.

Waterman described the dogs and cat as malnourished, but the shelter doesn’t believe they were physically abused.

“It was more neglect,” she said. “They were all very hungry. They all needed baths.”

Police last week described living conditions of the animals as “horrible,” saying the trailer floors were covered with feces and adequate food and water weren’t provided for the animals.

“They are all great animals and they deserve better,” Waterman said.

Waterman said incidents of animal seizures have been rising in this area.

“We’re starting to see more and more of them,” Waterman said, but she didn’t know any reason.

Earlier this year, the Westbrook shelter got seven of 19 beagles seized at a home in Limington. All seven have since been adopted.

According to Standish Animal Control Officer Jack Freitas, who was at the scene of both the Buxton and Limington seizures, people who hoard and/or neglect animals are often oblivious to their pets’ living conditions.

“They truly believe that no one else can take care of them,” he said.

And frequently in neglect cases, he said, people are uneducated about how to take care of animals.

Waterman said people who can’t afford pets could make an appointment to surrender them to the Animal Refuge League, which covers the Greater Portland area including Buxton and Limington.

Waterman said Coosard hadn’t contacted the shelter. If he wins in court, he would be charged a daily boarding fee and medical expenses to recover the five dogs and cat from the shelter, Waterman said.

Buxton Police Chief Jody Thomas and Officer Mike Grovo were assisted in the rescue operation by Buxton Animal Control Officer Alexandra Sanborn and Freitas.

The York County District Attorney’s office is reviewing the case for possible additional charges.

“If the public wants to help, we’re taking donations of high quality dog and cat food,” Waterman said.

Those wishing to donate to help care for the five dogs and a cat seized in Buxton can contact the Animal Refuge League in Westbrook at 854-9771.

Those wishing to donate to help the pony and two goats can contact the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals at 892-8007.

Cutline (seizure 2)

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