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As Winter Cold Sets In, MSPCA-Nevins Farm Remains Open to Animals Impacted by Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions

MSPCA Nevins Farm

It’s been just over a month since natural gas explosions rocked the Merrimack Valley region of Massachusetts and some 8,600 residents are still without gas heat, having to rely on space heaters to warm their homes.

For thousands of residents who own pets, the hoped-for date of November 19 for full restoration of gas services cannot come quickly enough.  That is why today the MSPCA-Nevins Farm made clear that it will continue its leadership role in helping the region’s pets safely navigate the crisis. 

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has formally requested that Nevins Farm continue to provide emergency pet sheltering needs for anyone who lacks adequate heat or hot water and who may therefore opt to find alternative housing for themselves and their animals.  

“MEMA has strategized a really good, pet-friendly relocation plan—and we want the community to know that we are here and providing care for any animal that may for whatever reason struggle in temporary housing—or if people encounter any difficulties accessing pet friendly housing,” said Mike Keiley, director of adoption centers and programs at the MSPCA-Angell.  “It’s very possible now that the weather is turning cold that some animals—particularly those in trailers or whose families are riding this out at home with space heaters—may end up needing a place to stay until the infrastructure repairs are completed.


For weary pet owners who are wondering how long they can hold out, it’s a welcome relief to know that Nevins Farm is there if needed.


The Nevins Farm team is gearing up for what may be even more requests for emergency shelter as October ticks toward November.  “We are ready to roll if necessary and we have the space and supplies necessary, thanks to the incredible outpouring of support we received in September,” said Meaghan O’Leary, director of the Noble Family Animal Care and Adoption Center at Nevins Farm.

Nevins Farm is also currently sheltering a turtle whose Lawrence-based owners, both living in temporary housing, worried the animal could not be kept warm enough to ensure his safety. 

 All 92 animals who sought shelter at Nevins Farm in the immediate aftermath of the explosions have since returned home.

For Emergency Pet Sheltering

Nevins Farm is asking anyone who may need emergency sheltering to first check with Columbia Gas for pet-friendly housing options—“Because oftentimes this means the animal can stay with his or her family, which we feel is better for both people and pets,” said O’Leary.  Columbia Gas Massachusetts contact details are listed on its Website.

Animals requiring emergency shelter can be brought to Nevins Farm for boarding between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.  All pets must be vaccinated for rabies and distemper (as well as kennel cough for dogs).  For more information about the sheltering process pet owners can call the adoption center at 978-687-7453 ext. 6101.

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