45 cats, 5 dogs, bird, raccoon die in Brevard house fire

Officials say home had locked doors, boarded-up windows

MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. - Dozens of animals were killed early Wednesday in a Merritt Island house fire, officials said.

Forty-five cats, five dogs, a parrot and a raccoon died in the fire, which was reported around 3 a.m. at a home in the 400 block of Kennwood Avenue near Courtenay Parkway.

Two people were home at the time of the fire, but no injuries were reported. Brevard County fire officials said the Red Cross is assisting the residents.

One cat and 13 dogs were rescued and were taken to a nearby animal shelter for a routine quarantine, officials said.

Fire officials said locked doors and boarded-up windows made it difficult for firefighters to battle the small blaze.

A short time after the blaze was contained, firefighters made a grim discovery of dozens of dead animals.

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"It was sad ... the paramedics were passing off dogs and cats to different neighbors. They were giving oxygen and I saw one first responder giving mouth to mouth (to a dog)," said Susan Graham, who lives in the neighborhood.

Another neighbor said she would regularly hear the 18 dogs barking on the property at all hours of the morning.

"We've filed multiple complaints," neighbor Mary Lynch told News 6. "They finally got fined last week and paid the fine, but all those animals could have been saved if Animal Control would have stepped in earlier," she told News 6 Wednesday.

The extent of damage to the home was not immediately known.

Fire investigators were at the home with agents from the Brevard County sheriff's animal services unit. Several animal services trucks were at the site.

The SPCA shelter in Titusville said it will take in the rescued dogs.

The home was condemned by authorities following the fire.




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