AVOCA, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – More than 75 dogs died in a house fire on Saturday and dozens more made it out alive.
The Humane Society here in Rogers said 73 dogs came here after this fire, and that number is about to increase because some of them are pregnant.
The shelter was already at capacity and now the number of dogs here has more than doubled.
“We noticed owners trying to get into their house and get their pets out of the house. At the time, we didn’t know how many dogs there were,” said Avoca Deputy Fire Chief Brian Ervin.
There were around 150 dogs in this Avoca home when it caught fire on Saturday, but Avoca Fire said the priority at the time was saving people and putting out the fire.
“They would be upset because they have the potential to lose their dogs in their house, or often those dogs are your family,” Ervin said.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office said nearly 80 of them died. Clayton Morgan, director of Rogers’ Humane Society, said he couldn’t see how one family could properly care for so many animals.
“It’s negligence when it comes to ‘how do you like 150 puppies?'” Morgan said.
Especially after seeing the condition of the 70 dogs that survived.
“They have skin mites, some of the older ones are blind, they have long, uncut nails, but mostly your skin issues,” Morgan said.
Morgan said the problems had nothing to do with the fire.
“Puppy mills and things like that, as we know, there are a lot of them in rural Benton County,” Morgan said.
Morgan said it was a good reminder to start thinking about where these dogs came from and to remember “adopt, don’t buy.”
As for their destination, they will have to remain in his custody for 15 days until they are ready to be transported to other shelters with space across the country.
The Benton County Fire Marshal is still investigating the cause of the fire and prosecutors will decide whether charges will be brought against the owners.