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Newhouse Wildlife Rescue in Chelmsford in danger of closing after neighborhood complaint

Animal rescue in Chelmsford in danger of closing after neighborhood complaint
Animal rescue in Chelmsford in danger of closing after neighborhood complaint 02:27

CHELMSFORD - A wildlife rescue in Chelmsford that was recently profiled on WBZ-TV is now in danger of closing due to a neighborhood complaint about its enclosures.

Jane Newhouse, a former veterinarian tech, has dedicated her life into building the Newhouse Wildlife Rescue at her home. She takes care of animals like skunks, raccoons, foxes, beavers and possums that have been injured or orphaned so they can be rehabilitated back into the wild. 

Last week, Newhouse was told by the town she may have to close after someone complained about a raccoon coming onto their property and causing damage.

"It wasn't a raccoon that came from us," said Newhouse. "None of the raccoons we release are tagged or colored but we were blamed for it.

After an on-site inspection, she was told all nine of her cages must be built 10 feet from her property line. She was also given a cease and desist order from the town for a semi-aquatic enclosure she was building for beavers and otters because it was too close to the property line.

"They were very polite, they loved the rescue, but they have to do their jobs and the problem with that, is that none of our cages slide over, multiple ones have concrete bottoms, we have a semi-aquatic enclosure, all of these enclosures would have to come down."

Newhouse said to take down and rebuild the cages, it would cost about $60,000. She said her rescue relies on donations and community support and that's what she's hoping for now.

"I'm hoping that the community can come together and the town will listen and help us so that we can continue our mission. These animals need us, the people need us too. And I just want to keep doing the good we're doing for the community," said Newhouse.

"It's disheartening," said Billerica Animal Control Officer Christine Gualteri. "She's been great to the community."

Newhouse plans to file an appeal in the town's decision this week.

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