UPDATE (3/17/2020):

After much deliberation, the MSSPA has made the difficult decision to close the shelter to volunteers and visitors. This closure is effective at end of business (4PM) on Wednesday, March 18th. The closure will be reviewed periodically by MSSPA leadership and board of directors as new information and recommendations become available. MSSPA is dedicated to caring for the rescued horses at the shelter.  Leadership and staff have plans in place to ensure their safety and wellbeing during the next few weeks. Please know that we truly appreciate all the work and support our community has provided the horses and staff at MSSPA; your presence at the River Road farm will be missed!

MSSPA Addresses COVID-19 Concerns (3/13/2020):

All of us at the MSSPA understand the growing concern surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19) across Maine, the United States, and throughout the world. We have the greatest sympathy for those whose lives have already been severely impacted. We recognize there are many questions and fears about the situation and are here to support one another as it evolves. Leadership here at New England’s premier horse shelter is monitoring things very closely and is taking steps that have been identified by governing agencies to protect people, the horses here, and our organization. Our top priority is to keep everyone safe and healthy as well as provide for the horses in our care to the very best of our abilities.

It is critical that employees and volunteers do not report to work while they are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that employees remain at home until at least 24 hours after they are fever-free (100º F or 37.8º C) without the use of fever-reducing medications. MSSPA endorses this recommendation. 

Often, with the best of intentions, people report to work even though they are ill. Employees and volunteers who report to the shelter while displaying the symptoms listed above will be asked to go home in accordance with these health guidelines.

We ask all visitors, volunteers, and employees to cooperate in taking steps to reduce the transmission of communicable diseases:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put used tissues in the trash.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  • Avoid people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Avoid shaking hands.

Because there are many unknowns, the MSSPA will take things day-by-day and week-by-week.  We will monitor our operations and make decisions based on the best information we have. We will continue to refer to the CDC, the World Health Organization, and other public health agencies to determine the safest course of action for everyone who comes to the River Road farm shelter.

We’re taking additional steps to keep people and animals safe in our facilities by following regular cleaning practices and enhancing those as appropriate. This situation continues to evolve quickly, and we are monitoring it closely. Based on current guidance as well as our own standards and practices, the MSSPA remains open for business and to public visitors from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day.