Tag Archives: fire

I visited Sweet Pea animal shelter in Paxton a few weeks ago …

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

… after the fire; after the horrible fatalities (nearly 50 dogs and cats perished in the flames); after the TV news trucks, their satellite dishes and anorexic girl reporters shoved off; after the ignorant comments that went like this had passed: Well, the animals didn’t suffer too much – it was the carbon monoxide that killed them, not the flames; after all the noise and media whores faded away. … I drove up with a friend and found owner Melanie still shaken but quietly tenacious – totally focused on regrouping and reopening her beloved animal shelter.
Melanie’s kennels and shelter space, based on the mini-tour she gave me after the fire, did seem a bit antiquated, but this dog lover felt that IN NO WAY were her dogs crammed in cages. The kennels seemed fine – not shoddily built; there was a play area, there were runs, there was a quarantine building with kennels, there was a heating system, a washer and dryer for dog bedding, a place to wash the dogs.

Melanie had a lot  to contend with when she bought the place: first, it was built in the 1970s – the kennels, building, electrical work were old, just plain old. But probably fine for the time they were built. Melanie doesn’t have a ton of dough so gave it her all –  100% –  to make the shelter she had WORK.

And it did!

Everyone says she DEFINITELY RAN A TRUE NO KILL SHELTER. She took the dogs and cats no one wanted, kept them and loved them and PLACED THEM in loving homes. She told me she even housed feral cats, taming them down – it takes a few years – and then placing them in forever homes! As someone who had cared for two feral cat colonies in Worcester’s inner city  for 10 YEARS, I know how challenging taming down a feral cat can be and thought WOW! This lady is GOOD!

Melanie welcomed ALL to her shelter, the place  was open to every person in the community – no snobby attitude at Sweet Pea! She had 100 volunteers walking the dogs, helping with donations. Her animal shelter hid nothing, had nothing to hide, was accessible – a fun place to volunteer. On any given day you could visit Sweet Pea and see volunteers walking the dogs, a stretch of woods making a lovely backdrop. Sweet Pea is definitely in the country – a tonic for abandoned dogs, critters who are hurtin’!

There is so much to be done now!
So much rebuilding before this single working women can reopen her animal shelter, her not so small biz!



Melanie  needs our help! The Town of Paxton has now come up with a set of standards for all kennels in town: kennel dimensions, the kind of materials that need to go into kennel floors, the kinds of walls that need to go between kennels, lengths of runs, sprinkler systems, etc. THIS IS A GOOD THING. FOR THE DOGS AND CATS and PEOPLE! These new regulations will help ensure that a fire – or other calamity-  will not wreak havoc in places where helpless animals are locked up – are unable to flee the flames, the flooding, etc. Can you imagine the FEAR, THE OUTRIGHT PANIC the Sweet Pea dogs and cats felt as they gnawed or pawed away at their cages to free themselves from FIRE … HELL? Horrific.

We will always remember them…WE MUST NEVER FORGET!

But it’s time for Melanie to rebuild, take Paxton’s blueprint for animal SAFETY and success and make it REAL!

Please CLICK HERE and make a donation to the SWEET PEA GoFundMe or PayPal accounts!

Learn about Sweet Pea and the wonderful work that Melanie and her volunteers have done!

Make Sweet Pea come alive with dogs and cats and all critters great and small once again!


For Two Economists, the Buffett Rule Is Just a Start

From The New York Times:


Other great stories from the Inter-web!!  – R.T.





A night in the life of the P.I.P. Shelter (after its closing)

By Ron O’Clair

As I write these lines, I had just hung up the telephone from calling the police department once again this night in order to have the troublesome drug dealers moved along from out front of my building. One would think that with the shelter being officially closed, there would be no legal reason whatsoever that people could use to justify their presence under the windows of my tenants, at what is now 2:46 a.m.

Prior to the first of my two calls this night, I had returned from the Webster Square area to Main and Charlton, having seen no people loitering around any closed businesses along my route anywhere else, all the way form Main and Stafford streets at Gardner Square, until coming to my block (the PIP/Charlton and Main streets), where there were, I counted, 11 people standing in the various doorways outside of closed for the night businesses in my immediate area. Nowhere else along the length of Main Street, only here did I see anyone hanging around at close to midnight.

Recently the great fire happened at the three buildings on the left side of the end of my side street, on Charlton Street. A vacant building undergoing extensive renovation with a new foundation having been poured, and an off foundation renovation of the entire three-decker structure was totally destroyed by a fire. Being as it was situated between the other two burned buildings, and given the probability that there were no sources of ignition such as electrical power or natural gas service to the building, it can be assumed that it was intentionally set on fire.

My own theory is that some person, or persons unknown, set the fire deliberately in the vacant structure to stay warm, as it was very cold that night. … I only can go by my own experience, and my own observations seeing as I came home that morning to see my road blocked off at both ends still, and that was at 8:45 A.M. or so Continue reading A night in the life of the P.I.P. Shelter (after its closing)

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus comes to Worcester! Please boycott this traveling torture chamber!

editor’s note: For almost 10 years InCity Times has railed against the circus and all the businesses that exploit exotic animals – tigers, lions, elephants, bears.

Anything to make a buck – even if it means ripping these animals out of their natural environment, keeping them caged/enclosed all the time, keeping them in chains on hard cement and then forcing them (with electric prods, bull hooks, fire, whips) to do tricks, for people, most of whom would be repulsed by the “trainers” training techniques (animal cruelty!).

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is the worst offender, but all the mini circuses that come through town, with their tigers etc are horrific. Often times these animals are rented out for a month or two and then when one gig is over, go on to be slaves for another circus – or in a recent case, Southwicks Zoo in Mendon. Southwicks rented Dondi the elephant and she died in the middle of summer (2001), during which time she had to perform her tricks in the summer heat. We have reported on this tragedy and (along with IFAW) want to see the vet/health report on Dondi’s Death. Southwicks has refused to make Dondi’s records available to the news media/publilc.

In Western Europe, Bolivia, even in good ol’ Revere, Mass., exotic animal acts are banned (meaning no circuses that use these animals are allowed in the town/city) because people do not want to have majestic animals like the lion and elephant degraded and tortured. Other circuses like the cool Cirque de Soleil, circuses which don’t used wild animals, are welcome in these places. And people love them! Continue reading Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus comes to Worcester! Please boycott this traveling torture chamber!