DALLAS — An early-morning house fire Tuesday in East Dallas sent two people to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries but killed more than 50 dogs.
It broke out Tuesday at about 4 a.m. in the 400 block of Grandview Avenue near Santa Fe Avenue and Abrams Road. Investigators believe the fire began with an electrical short in a window-mounted air conditioning unit.
First responders said they rescued a husband and wife from inside the burning structure. They were taken to a local hospital with burns and smoke inhalation.
The fire department said a total of 53 dogs were killed in the fire. At least 16 more were rescued and were being treated elsewhere.
"It is unknown why so many dogs were in one home, but reportedly there were more than 70," said Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans. "While an unspecified number of them were pulled from the home alive, given some measure of treatment and turned over to animal control, it was not known if they'd live."
For much of the morning, city workers removed trash bags filled with the bodies of dogs that perished in the blaze. At least one of the animals didn't have a chance; its body was removed from a locked crate.
Stricken with grief, an unidentified occupant of the house wouldn't tell us why they had so many canines under one roof, saying simply, "I wish I could help right now, but I'm heartbroken."
News 8 talked to neighbor Janie Mosqueda, who knew the woman who collected the pets over the years.
"She really did love her dogs," Mosqueda told us. She said despite appearances, the dogs had been well cared for.
Animal services investigators concur the dogs didn't appear to have been neglected. They also said they hadn't received any prior complaints at the address.
"It's a true tragedy," said Jody Jones with Dallas Animal Services. "The family is extremely distraught."
Still, Jones notes Dallas does have an ordinance limiting the number of animals in a home this size to six. There were more than 11 times that number in the house on Grandview Avenue.
The surviving dogs still technically belong to the owners as the investigation continues. It's too early to know what, if any, action will be taken against them.
In similar cases, penalties can range from a $50 fine to felony charges.