APRIL 20, 2016 UPDATE: “I was only gone for an hour, and I came back and the house was in flames,” Loretta Murray, owner of the house that caught on fire, told WPLG Local 10 today. Many of the dogs that were rescued are now in need of foster or permanent homes. For more information, contact Abandoned Pet Rescue at 954-728-9010 or Florida Cocker Spaniel Rescue at 813-245-1833.
As firefighters approached a burning house in Dania Beach, Fla., last night, several dogs ran toward them.
Inside the house were even more dogs, “many unconscious and unresponsive,” Broward Sheriff’s Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles told Inside Edition. “There were dogs everywhere in the house. They were still finding dogs an hour and a half or so (into the rescue).”
More than 34 dogs were rescued from the house in what Jachles described as “an endless chain of dogs. It was pretty bizarre. Any of us that were at the scene last night have never seen anything like this.”
Some dogs were given oxygen. The fire truck was equipped with only one pet oxygen mask, so officers had to use larger ones designed for children and adults on the other dogs.
Five of the dogs were in critical condition. Those and four others were taken to a local animal emergency hospital. Only one dog died.
“Considering we had 34 dogs in a house filled with fire and full of smoke, that only one dog perished, that was pretty remarkable,” Jachles told Inside Edition.
There is no limit to the number of pets you can have in Broward County. The homeowner, who wasn’t there at the time of the fire, operated a dog rescue from her house.
“We have seen all of these dogs before. They are well cared for,” Animal Care and Adoption Division spokeswoman Lisa Mendheim told Inside Edition. “Any of them that were in need of medical services were under veterinary care, so there is no issue of cruelty.”
Dennis Hartling, a neighbor who called 911, said it was a hoarding situation.
“It’s not the first time that they’ve hauled this many dogs off their property,” he told WSVN. “The city hasn’t done anything about it, and tonight is just another example of what she’s up to.”
The cause of the fire is not yet known. Hartling said it started near the air-conditioning unit.
“Just tonight, I just so happen to be on my way out to the store, and I could smell the smoke, I could see it, I could hear the crackling from the fire,” he told WSVN. “I walked down the sidewalk to the building in the back, the side of the house. Part of it was on fire from the AC unit.”
As the injured dogs recover, Jachles told Inside Edition the fire department may bring their fire rescue dog to visit them.
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