More than a dozen pets die in house fire

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June 25, 2009
— Fifteen beagles and a couple cats died in a fire that destroyed a home Wednesday morning on Sunny Lane in Rock Township, according to authorities.

Firefighters from the towns of Beloit and Turtle responded at about 10 a.m. to the home at 507 W. Sunny Lane, according to a news release from the Town of Beloit Fire Department. A Rock County highway worker at the scene reported to dispatchers that smoke was coming from the home.

Firefighters initially reported the fire was in the attic, but the cause is still under investigation. Because of the extreme heat and smoky conditions, the contents and house owned by Tammy Babcock are considered a total loss, the fire department said. No loss estimate was available.

Firefighters rescued one cat, the lone survivor among the 15 dogs and a couple cats, said Jim Hurley, operations manager at the Rock County Humane Society. The surviving cat was given oxygen treatment and later seen by a vet.

Hurley said the dogs all had been well cared for and had clean kennels with water, "but the issue is the number of animals in that small of an area," he told WCLO Radio.

The town of Rock does not have an ordinance limiting the number of pets in a home, he said. Hurley said he went to the Rock Town Board about the lack of such an ordinance a couple years ago after the humane society rescued 44 Siberian huskies from a home in the township.

"A house should never have that number of animals allowed in it," he said of the number of dogs found Wednesday in the fire.

"When you don't address the bigger issue, these smaller issues do crop up," he said.

He said the humane society's focus is on the care of animals, not to be a politically active organization trying to push laws through.

"I'm hoping someone addresses it sooner rather than later," he said.

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