60 Boxers rescued from ‘unsanitary and overcrowded’ home in Merrimac, MSPCA says

MERRIMAC, Mass. — Police have launched an investigation after 60 Boxers were rescued from an “unsanitary and overcrowded” home in Merrimac on Tuesday, in the largest local surrender the MSPCA has seen in a decade.

Police responded to a home on Locust Grove Road in Merrimac after receiving reports of animal hoarding and overcrowding. The Boxer dogs were voluntarily surrendered by the homeowner, police said.

“Every domesticated animal has a right to minimum standards of nutrition, sanitation and veterinary care,” Merrimac Police Department Chief Eric Shears said. “Animal hoarding and overcrowding is dangerous because it jeopardizes the ability of animals to receive appropriate care, and we will investigate any reports of those occurrences.”

No charges have been filed at this time.

A multi-jurisdictional investigation is active and ongoing, Shears said.

The 60 dogs, which range in age from newborn puppies to seniors, will not be available for adoption until they have undergone medical and behavioral evaluations, a process that could take weeks, officials said.

“We’re still doing initial evaluations, so we aren’t yet sure what kind of care these dogs will need before they’re ready to find new homes,” MSPCA-Angell Vice President of Animal Protection Mike Keiley said. “But we know the property they came from allegedly had unsanitary and overcrowded conditions.”

“So, some of the dogs are thin, and many have acute medical issues that need to be addressed, like dental work,” Keiley said. “It’ll take a few days for us to have a clear picture of what’s next for them, but we do know that we need help now.”

The case is being investigated by police in Merrimac, Haverhill, and Windham, New Hampshire.

Anyone with information for investigators is asked to call Merrimac Police at 978-346-8321.

Shelter capacity pushed to the limits

The MSPCA is working tirelessly to ready the Boxers for adoption as quickly as possible, Keiley said. Some are expected to be available as early as June 17, while others will require more time.

“This is the largest local surrender we’ve had in close to a decade,” Keiley said. “Thankfully, we adopted out many dogs during our adoptathon last week, but given the immense size of this surrender, we’re already back at capacity.”

He encouraged people to adopt dogs that have been in MSPCA shelters to make space for the Boxers.

“We’re also looking for people to help us by fostering some of these new arrivals,” he said. “It’s critical that we make space in the shelters so that we can continue to be there for people in the community who need to surrender, but right now that will be extremely challenging.”

Anyone interested in learning more about fostering a dog can find information at mspca.org/foster.

Help the Boxers

People interested in donating to help offset the cost of caring for the Boxers may do so at mspca.org/boxers.

“Having this many animals come into our care so quickly is extremely taxing on all our resources,” said Keiley, estimating that the dogs’ care will cost more than $10,000.

“We want to get these dogs into new homes as soon as they’re ready, so that they’re able to get the love and attention they deserve, while also opening up kennel space that would allow us to take in animals from local surrenders and transfers from local animal control departments, as well as out-of-state transports,” he said.

Some of the dogs will need more time before they’re ready for adoption, he said.

“We’re asking that people be patient as we work to get them there,” Keiley said.

The dogs will be adopted out of the MSPCA’s shelters in Boston, Methuen, and Salem during open hours, which vary by location.

The Boxers will be added to the MSPCA’s available animals page at mspca.org/adoptadog as they become available for adoption. Interested adopters are asked to monitor that page and go to open hours to adopt.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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