Thirty cats and one dog died in a Toronto house fire yesterday afternoon.
The fire broke out at 31 Burnfield Avenue (near Ossington and Dupont) at around 1:30 p.m., and damages are estimated at $400,000.
Although the City of Toronto Municipal Code allows only six animals per family, the human residents, who escaped the blaze unharmed, were fostering cats on behalf of the Annex Cat Rescue (ACR).*
Heartbroken foster mom Janine Denny-Lightfoot told CP 24 that “there’s no one to take them in” and she couldn’t bear to leave them out on the street “starving [and] breeding.” She said the animals received “really good vet care” and “lots of love and attention.”
*UPDATE: It has come to this Examiner’s attention that the cats who perished in the fire were not, in fact, ACR foster cats, but rather cats Ms. Denny-Lightfoot had rescued herself.
Although Ms. Denny-Lightfoot does work closely with ACR and other rescue groups to find homes for the cats and kittens she rescues, ACR recognizes the Toronto by-laws and would never ask any one foster home to care for that many animals.
The Annex Cat Rescue is a non-profit organization run by volunteers who feed feral cat colonies and provide foster homes for homeless, abandoned, or surrendered cats.
ACR foster coordinator Heather Brown told the Toronto Star that “most of the cats and kittens in the house were on a waiting list for foster homes, and that many were recovering from recent illness.”
Toronto Fire Services captain Mike Strapko said one cat was so badly burned it had to be euthanized at the scene.
Four cats and two kittens are still alive (although one critically injured), and five are missing.
© 2010 Anita Robeson
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Anita Robeson is also the Canada Animal News Examiner.
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