Massachusetts Shelter fire kills dozens of dogs and cats

Massachusetts Shelter Fire Kills Dozens Of Cats And Dogs

A Massachusetts shelter fire has claimed the lives of dozens of cats and dogs.

According to a report from the Washington Post, reported via MSN, 17 dogs and 39 cats were killed when the Sweetpea Friends of Rutland Animals Inc., which describes itself as a “nonprofit, no-kill animal welfare organization founded in 2000,” caught fire on Sunday night.

The shelter, located in Paxton, about 50 miles from Boston, has two buildings. One of the buildings was a total loss, according to the report, while the other remained untouched by the blaze.

Immediately after the first broke out, the workers at the shelter sent out a notification on Facebook, asking for volunteers to help assist them in moving the animals.

“Sweetpea is currently ON FIRE and we need volunteers to help MOVE animals. This is not a drill. Please help! 1090 Pleasant St. Paxton, Massachusetts,” the post read, later adding that they had enough volunteers show up to move the animals that had survived the fire but needed veterinarians to go to Sweetpea as soon as possible to help the injured animals.

Sweetpea Friends of Rutland Animals Inc. later shared another post on Facebook, updating the community on what had happened, calling the fire a total loss.

“Tonight, sweetpea has lost almost everything. We would like to send a HUGE thank you to our community, without whom, we would have lost everything. We will add updates in the morning. Thank you all -Delaney (and I’m sure everyone else at sweetpea).”

Several dogs and cats were able to be rescued from the building before it went completely up in flames. Sweetpea also shared an update on these animals, saying that they were being treated for their injuries at local veterinarian facilities. The few dogs that survived were said to have been larger breeds, while the dogs that succumbed to the fire were mostly smaller. The shelter believes some of the cats may have escaped the building, and to try and catch them, the volunteers placed crates with food inside around the building.

“Brooklyn Skye, Jade and Divinci are at vet in stable condition. Stella is in critical condition and rushed to tufts. Kitten the cat is stable,” the Massachusetts shelter wrote.

According to, a stretch of Route 122 (Pleasant Street) was closed on Sunday night at approximately 10:45 p.m. as firefighters from Holden, Leicester, Spencer, Rutland, and Oakham battled the fire and smoke that was pouring out from the top of the building. The news site reports that the flames seemed to have been extinguished by the firefighters by 11:45 p.m.

Volunteers flooded the streets, bringing supplies for the animals and water for the firefighters. A veterinarian, who is married to one of the firefighters, also arrived to treat the rescued animals. While the shelter pleaded, and waited, for other veterinarians to arrive, the paramedics treated the animals for smoke inhalation. Paxton Fire Chief Jay Conte said the building that housed the approximately 50 cats and dogs was a complete and total loss. Fire Capt. Tom Savage said the firefighters tried to rescue as many animals as they could, but they couldn’t get to them all in time.

On Monday, Sweetpea Shelter director Richard Clark posted a message on Facebook asking for donations of supplies. The list included items like cat/dog food, blankets, and cleaning supplies. The shelter also created a “wishlist” on to let the community know what items the shelter desperately needs.

The cause of the shelter fire still remains under investigation.

[Photo via Shutterstock]