Over 70 animals die at Texas pet resort in late-night fire


GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — A fire at a Williamson County pet resort on Saturday night ended with the deaths of over 70 animals.

The deadly fire happened at around 11:05 p.m. Saturday at Ponderosa Pet Resort in Georgetown, the Georgetown Fire Department chief John Sullivan confirmed Sunday.

Sullivan said when crews arrived, they found significant fire and smoke — the animals are believed to have died from smoke inhalation. No humans were inside during the fire.

“These animals are an extension of family,” Sullivan said Sunday. “So it is a significant loss.”

Ponderosa offers training, grooming and boarding and was founded over 10 years ago by owner Phillip Paris, a dog trainer and former City of Georgetown police officer.

Fatal fires at pet stay facilities have happened across the country before. Back in 2019, 31 dogs died in a Chicago kennel fire, leading Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker to sign a law requiring kennels to remain constantly staffed and are equipped with sprinklers and fire alarms. Earlier this year, a blaze at a dog kennel in Bardstown, Kentucky, claimed the lives of about 50 dogs except for one female, who’d recently birthed six puppies who also died.

A 2017 court case in Washington D.C. centered on one pet owner who sued a boarding facility after her teacup Yorkie was killed by another dog inside. The dog’s owner claimed the facility was negligent. The business denied the claims of negligence, however, calling the death a “freak accident.”

GFD says it’s too early to pinpoint the cause of the fire, but crews have established its point of origin.

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