SOLON — A local business that breeds rough-coat collies was where nearly 100 animals in need of “urgent care” were seized by animal welfare agents executing a search warrant earlier this week, authorities confirmed Thursday.

Police supervised the search and animal seizure at R-N-D Kennels, which is at 196 Rowell Mountain Road, said Somerset County Chief Deputy Michael Mitchell. Donna Noyes is the owner, according to the business’s website, and has been breeding rough-coat collies since 2004.

Officials haven’t said what tips led them to the kennel business, but according to Jim Britt, director of communications for the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, state animal welfare workers and the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant around 8 a.m. Tuesday.

They seized dogs, cats, chickens and horses in need of “urgent care” and set up an emergency shelter at an undisclosed location. Officials originally thought the number of animals rescued was about 80, but Britt said Wednesday that the number is closer to 100.

Noyes has not responded to multiple requests for comment. A woman who answered at the business’s phone number said “no” when asked if it was R-N-D Kennels, and immediately hung up.

Noyes’ mission statement on the company’s website describes her passion for collies. “From the time I was very young I had an overwhelming love for animals, much to my parents dismay!” it states. “I went about life attempting to save every critter in need. In particular I had a love for horses and collie dogs.”


Noyes wrote that she has a 14-acre property that was redesigned to “ensure the safety” of her collies and farm animals.

But Mitchell described the property differently.

“It didn’t look like a farm to me. When I pulled up, I thought, ‘Where do they keep 80 animals?’ ” Mitchell said. “Some of the dogs looked like they were in real bad shape, like they were malnourished. I mean, they could’ve been; how do you feed and care for that many animals?”

Dr. Paul Gervais’ rough coat collie, Jack, whom he purchased from R-N-D Kennels of Solon. Photo courtesy of Dr. Paul Gervais

Noyes’ selling price for the dogs ranged from $700 to $1,000, according to her website, which states that the kennel will place the dogs only in approved homes.

Paul Gervais, who treats mental health disorders at his clinic in Augusta, said he adopted his dog Jack from Noyes two years ago. Since visiting the residence, Gervais has wondered whether Noyes was running a “puppy mill.”

“When we went to get Jack, we drove up to the property and were taken to the backyard,” Gervais said. “There was three or four cages with about 25 collies in each one. So you’re looking at probably 75 total. Some of them were missing hair, some looked to be in poor health. … When we went inside, it was very dark, and the house was in disarray. There were animals caged up everywhere. In the dining room, there were two Dobermans in one cage, with one being pregnant. There were a number of cats caged up.


“We had a funny feeling about what she was running up there, but we didn’t want to give her trouble if that wasn’t the case,” he said.

Gervais said his dog Jack exhibits clear signs of anxiety.

He said his experience with R-N-D Kennels has made him feel victimized.

“She (Noyes) is a nice lady; she clearly loved dogs, but something was happening there,” Gervais said. “She created a lot of victims, not only with the dogs but with the owners. When you get your dog and it starts to have these problems, you don’t know what to do.”

The animals will undergo medical and behavioral evaluations and receive needed care while in state custody. After custody is determined by the court, possible new homes can be found, according to a news release by state officials.

Liam Hughes, director of Maine’s animal welfare program, disclosed more details about the conditions of the property to the Boston Globe on Wednesday.

“The conditions were very poor,” Hughes told the Globe. “A lot of (the animals) needed a lot more attention than what they were getting. They’re all getting evaluated medically and getting behavior evaluations. Most of the dogs are kind of in a state of shock.”

The agriculture department said in its release that about a dozen organizations and agencies provided volunteers and assistance in the case.

“Donations can be dropped off at local animal shelters,” the release said. “Needed items include pads and blankets, towels, sheets, dog toys, paper towels, cleaning supplies and dog food/treats. Anyone interested in helping animals in their community should inquire with their local animal shelter.”

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