METHUEN — Fitchburg firefighters quickly doused a house fire Wednesday afternoon but made quite a discovery — a menagerie of animals in need of help.
The MSCPA-Nevins Farm of Methuen was called into rescue eight cats, five kittens, four turtles, two tortosies, four rabbits, three snakes and approximately 60 fish from the cramped single-family home.
The owner of the home, whose identity is not being released, voluntarily surrendered the animals upon realizing she was not able to care for them properly. The MSPCA-Nevins Farm team, with assistance from the Fitchburg animal control officer, took several trips to transport the animals to the MSPCA’s facilities in Methuen.
Mike Keiley, director of the Noble Family Animal Care and Adoption Center at Nevins-Farm, was prepared for the arrival, despite how many disparate animals there were.
“High-volume animal surrenders are, unfortunately, not uncommon and our teams worked overtime to ensure we’d be ready to accommodate these animals,” he said.
Keiley said the animals’ health and well-being are the team’s foremost concerns.
“All of the animals will receive thorough veterinary exams and we will look to place as many of them up for adoption as soon as we can,” he said. “While we’ve never received such a high number of fish before — and this surrender will cause us to have to invest in new equipment to house them — we’re confident we can meet their needs until permanent homes are found.”
Most of the animals recovered were generally healthy. The cats were infested with ear mites and fleas, and the turtles and snakes were very thin. The Nevins Farm team is preparing the snakes and turtles for immediate transport to the New England Herpetological Society for further rehabilitation and adoption. The rest of the animals will remain at Nevins Farm where their socialization and healthcare needs will be addressed before they can be adopted into new homes.