INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. (WBTV) – Twenty dogs were killed and a woman injured when a Union County home was completely destroyed by fire Wednesday.
The fire broke out around 10:20 a.m. at a home on the 7000 block of Secrest Short Cut Road in Indian Trail.
Bobby Gladden said his wife was inside. He said he stepped outside to burn trash when he saw smoke billowing out the roof.
“Look around and seen smoke coming out the top of the house and I rush back in as quick as I could and open the door and everything was on fire and it seems like an explosion happened, he said. “The ceiling and everything falling down there and I finally got her.”
But, officials said Gladden’s wife went to try to save the dogs and suffered from smoke inhalation. The woman, whose name has not been released, was transported to an area hospital.
Firefighters said 20 dogs – 14 adults and six puppies – were killed in the fire. An additional 40 dogs were found alive.
“It’s a sad situation all around” said Lt Lynn Yow.
Lt. Yow, who is with Union County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services Division, said the owners were home breeders…. mostly Chinese Crested dogs.
The Sheriff’s Office said it was legal for the owners to have 60 dogs on the property.
“No ordinance or statues that says there’s a certain number of animals that you can have,” Lt. Yow said. “There’s no animal cruelty. The animals were healthy and vaccinated so there’s no laws broken”
Gladden told WBTV he and his wife are not breeders. He says they started with one, then two… and just kept adding more.
“She loves dogs. She would never sell them,” Bobby Gladden said. “She was supposed to sell them but she didn’t.”
Officials said the owner made arrangements for ten dogs to be placed with other homes, while the other 30 were being taken to a shelter.
The Sheriff’s Office said they’re hoping the owners voluntarily surrender the dogs to the shelter so they can be rescued. If not, investigators said they’ll work with the couple “to ensure she provides appropriate shelter.”
The Stallings Fire Department asked the public to “Please pray for the family involved as they have lost everything.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
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