SHERMAN — Donations of dog items are piling into New Milford’s Regional Animal Control facility for the 18 dogs that were rescued from a Sherman house fire on Route 55 Sunday, where a body was found that has not yet been publicly identified.
New Milford’s Taylor Hoffman, working with Clatter Valley Farm CSA in New Milford, collected about 50 to 80 pounds of dog supplies, donated by the community. Items include shampoo, treats, food, blankets and cash.
“She really put it together and orchestrated it very quickly,” said Gina Gambino, of Regional Animal Control in New Milford.
Hoffman, 21, a student at Naugatuck Community College, works at Clatter Valley and decided to set up a basket to collect items for the animals. On Tuesday, she wrote a Facebook post on a community page, asking for donations. The post was shared many times, she said.
“It’s really awesome to see just what one Facebook post could do for the town,” Hoffman said.
On the post, she said she wrote “The farm stand has a little donation set up for the dogs that were left behind.”
Hoffman said a lot of people started sharing her post and, by word of mouth, the basket started filling up. She plans to keep the basket at the farm stand for awhile. It can be found inside a large white tent on the property on Town Farm Road.
She said she wanted to help because she’s connected to the dogs, and to the family whose home had the fire.
Aside from Clatter Valley, donations for the rescued dogs are welcome at Regional Animal Control.
She added the shelter is trying to get the family of the person who died to sign over the dogs.
“The case is still under investigation and the animals are in hold for safe keeping. They are not ready to be adopted yet,” Gambino said.
She added while the dogs “weren’t in a life threatening state of health, the conditions that they were kept in were deplorable.”
The dogs will remain at the shelters until the investigation concludes.
Aside from dogs, one chicken was rescued from the property.
“We have the chicken housed in a cage. She’s got food and water,” Gambino said.
Three cats died in the fire, according to a news release on the agency’s Facebook page.
“These are dogs that have lived outdoors for most of their life and they have never seen a lot of these items or the materials that they’re made of,” Gambino said. “We have to be very careful what we give these dogs because they could potentially break apart and the animals could choke on things that they’re not familiar with.”
Gambino said the shelter appreciates that Hoffman organized the donations.
“Her effort was to purely comfort the dogs in this difficult time,” she said, adding it’s “very stressful” for animals to be moved from situations they’ve known all their lives.
“Suddenly coming indoors, no matter how comfortable we see it as humans, for them it’s very scary,” Gambino said. “We had dogs set foot inside the shelters and they’re afraid to walk on slippery floors or hard concrete because they’ve never seen that before.”
The shelters are testing all the animals with the Animal Welfare Society. Additionally, they’re trying to limit the dogs’ time outside in grassy areas because parasites and worms can be spread in the soil, she said.
“If they poop outside in the soil, it can spread to other dogs in the shelter that may not necessarily be infected,” Gambino said. “So, we have to be very careful with things like that. But we are going to definitely trying to accommodate them.”