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Journal Tribune
Updated November 8, 2019
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Solon kennel business confirmed as property where 100 animals were seized by state officials

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

Somerset County Chief Deputy Michael Mitchell said police supervised the search and animal seizure at R-N-D Kennels, which is at 196 Rowell Mountain Road.

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 along with Somerset County Police executed a search warrant around 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

They seized dogs, cats, chickens and horses that were said to need “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 disclosed on Wednesday that the number is higher than the 80 that were originally accounted for and is actually closer to 100. Britt did not disclose how or when officials were able to come to that number.

Donna Noyes is the founder and owner of R-N-D Kennels, according to the business website, has been breeding rough coat collies since 2004.

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

At 196 Rowell Mountain Road Thursday morning, a car was parked at the head of the driveway in the remote location and a “no trespassing” sign was placed on a tree branch to the left of the vehicle. The residence was not visible from the driveway.

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

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

But Mitchell pulled up to the scene on Tuesday, he saw a different picture.

“It (the property) 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?”

Noyes’ selling price for the dogs range from $700 to $1,000, according to her website, which states that the company will only place the dogs with homes as they see fit.

“Puppies are placed in approved homes only,” Noyes’ website states. “It is expected that you are purchasing a family member and this is a life long commitment.”

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

Officials have declined to comment further on the details of the condition of the animals because of the ongoing investigation.

The agriculture department said in its release that about dozen organizations and agencies provided volunteers and assistance in the case, including the Franklin County Animal Shelter and Kennebec Valley Humane Society.

“Many animal shelters and County Animal Response Teams are assisting in the care for these animals while in state custody,” the release said. “Donations can be dropped off at local animal shelters. 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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