61 animals killed in house fire prompts evaluation of city ordin - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

61 animals killed in house fire prompts evaluation of city ordinance

(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

Fire investigators are calling on the Olive Branch mayor to make changes after a house fire that killed 60 cats and one dog.

Investigators say the fire on Stonewall Drive was actually started by a cat. According to officials, the home, which had 61 animals in it, was in deplorable conditions and unsafe for everyone living it. They say a cat turned on the stove, which then lit the kitchen cabinets on fire.

Neighbors on Stonewall Drive say they are shocked to hear about the animals killed on their street. 

"No one should have that many animals in a home. I don't care if it's a sanctuary or a shelter. They should have pens outside, runs for dogs. They should be much better taken care of them; it's unacceptable," said one neighbor.

The people who lived in the home were part of an animal rescue operation that fostered pets who did not have anywhere to go. Olive Branch city leaders are now looking into ordinances of how many animals should be allowed inside a home in residential neighborhoods.

Fire Chief Johnny Eason says it was a hoarding situation with unsafe living conditions. The city currently has ordinances stating how many animals a resident can have in their home, but since these individuals were foster parents for New Beginnings Animal Rescue, that ordinance does not stand.

City of Olive Branch Mayor Scott Phillips says a meeting is scheduled for Monday to determine if a new ordinance should be put in place to keep this from happening in the future.

"Our biggest thing is to determine what the definition of a rescue is and if that's allowed in a residential area. Obviously we appreciate the rescues and what they do we just want to make sure they are doing it in the right way," said Phillips.

Phillips says prior to the fire, officials did not know about the rescue in the neighborhood. 

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