Inspector had Worried About Fire Hazard at Massachusetts Shelter

The “no-kill” animal shelter in Massachusetts that lost dozens of dogs and cats in a tragic fire last month had been deemed unsuitable for shelter by state inspectors, one of whom had even cited “a concern about fire hazard,” reports The Washington Post.

Sweetpea Friends of Rutland Animals Inc. in Paxton, about 50 miles from Boston, caught fire late at night Nov. 22. Almost immediately, shelter workers sent out a plea for help on social media.

The fire killed 17 dogs and 39 cats, according to the shelter. Four dogs and one cat survived.


GoFundMe page for the shelter, which was created earlier this year, has raised more than $130,000 since the fire.

But for years, it seems the shelter has struggled to meet the state’s expectations.

In inspection reports from 2013, 2014 and this year, inspectors with the state Department of Agricultural Resources’ Division of Animal Health have warned that the shelter was not fit for animals. Inspectors have noted “extreme” noise, overcrowding and a “significant odor.”

In July 2014, the state agency responded to a complaint from the Animal Rescue League of Boston about inhumane conditions at the shelter. A state inspector reported that cats were living up to four per cage, “leaving little room to move freely,” and that large dogs were living in kennels that were too small. “The larger dogs bang into the walls of the kennel when they try to turn around,” according to the report

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