Dallas Couple Who Lost at Least 50 Dogs in a Fire Treated Animals Well, Neighbors Say

Categories: Animal Welfare

Amy Silverstein
The people who lived here are expected to survive, but they've lost most of their pets.
The 15 dogs that survived an early morning house fire in East Dallas on Tuesday appeared to be well cared for, and other than the two being treated for possible injuries related to the fire, all appear healthy, Dallas Animal Services manager Jody Jones says.

A husband and wife lived with dozens of dogs -- one report says more than 70 -- in their home on Grandview Avenue. The survivors appear to all be Chihuahuas or Chihuahua mixes, Jones says.

The fire department says an electrical problem with the air conditioner is the fire's likely cause. The husband and wife were taken to a local hospital suffering from burns and smoke inhalation. They're expected to survive, but they lost at least 50 of their dogs in the blaze.

The home has a large backyard with a fenced-off space and a shed. A bag of Purina rested among the charred remains.

Why were there so many dogs in that home? Jones' Animal Services has started investigating. All clues so far indicate that the animals were treated OK, and maybe even loved.

Animal Services never received any 311 calls from anyone nearby complaining about the dogs, Jones says. A group of neighbors who were standing outside Tuesday morning declined an interview request, saying only they were concerned about the owners in the hospital.

"The neighbors were extremely nice and supportive and helpful on the scene," Jones says. "They couldn't have expressed enough how much the animals meant to the victims."

A city ordinance bans people from keeping more than eight dogs in their residences. People can apply to get exemptions, though Jones isn't sure yet whether or not the couple had done so.

Pet-hoarding, however, is fairly common. Animal Services says they find people keeping dozens of dogs in their homes a few times a year. Jones cautions again that her agency's investigation is still in the very early stages but adds: "When you see a high number of dogs in the good condition they were in," referring to the 15 survivors, "it's more likely just people that have been in over their heads than someone who was trying to do something intentionally illegal."

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The statements that they appeared to have "[t]reated [the] animals well" and that "a bag of Purina" was found on the property do not belong in the same article. 

That's one of the many problems with having this many dogs--they can only afford to feed them pure garbage.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

It's obvious there are mental issues going on with these people.  Myrna would NEVER go beyond the number that could be well-cared for.


It's to bad about the dogs. But, if everyone agrees that they were well cared for and not a danger/nuisance to anyone, that should be the end of the story.

TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Damn. I'm glad to hear that the owners and several dogs got out without too much injury.

The rest of those poor doggies, tho . . . Heavy bummage.

Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Wonder if the neighbors would of called code if it was 70 "in good condition" people living there.

Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Sec. 7-4.6 Limitation on the number of dogs and cats in dwelling units.

Should of only had 6 or 8....just like Myrna should only have 4.

TheCredibleHulk topcommenter


I don't know the situation, but I'm guessing that they must have been reasonably well taken care of if nobody had called code-enforcement on them by this point. You'd think that if there were that many animals in deplorable conditions, somebody would have noticed or said something.

The neighbors seem to all agree they weren't abusing them.(Well, beyond the fact that having 70 dogs around doesn't seem like a real good idea. OMG - can you imagine what a madhouse that must have been with that many high-energy dogs around?)

By-the-by, for anyone that's interested, the chow-shepard mix stray pup that we adopted recently was reclaimed by the new family that moved into the area several weeks ago. He escaped from his kennel shortly after they moved in, but has now been reunited with his very happy to see him family.

Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

WTF are you talking about fool.

It's a hoarder family.

Allegedly 70...here we can call it 30 dogs.

These people obviously need mental help.

Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Me too. Day off. Sippin n smokin. About to head to whole foods to grab some piggy ribs for my grill.

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