Rivers moving animal rescue to Ellsworth

MOUNT DESERT — Ann Rivers, who in September was denied a permit to continue her animal rescue operation at her home on Kimball Road in Northeast Harbor, is moving to a rural part of Ellsworth. 

She said Monday that she has made an offer on a 10-acre parcel of land with a house and barn, and the offer has been accepted. 

“I can turn the insulated barn into a rescue building,” she said. “It’s really exciting.”  

Rivers has rehabilitated abused and abandoned domestic animals for several years with the goal of having them adopted, but she had not been aware until earlier this year that she needed a permit from the town. 

Several of her neighbors complained that, even though they support the work she does, it was incompatible with the residential nature of the neighborhood. The Planning Board voted 5-0 to find that her operation fits the town’s definition of a commercial activity, which is not permitted in the Village Residential 2 zoning district.  

Speaking of the new home she has found for herself and the animals she rescues, Rivers said, “You drive up the road and you pass horses in fields, so it feel like it might be more accepting of what I’m doing.” 

She said she is applying for 501c3 status as a tax exempt, charitable organization, which she hopes will make fundraising easier.  

“I’m looking forward to getting that, because there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to get the rescue space ready,” she said. “I probably won’t be able to open until the spring.” 

Rivers has been living with her parents in Northeast Harbor. But she said they, too, are looking for new home, ideally not too far away, and that their house on Kimball Road is under contract. 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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