Faulkner County Deputies say the elderly couple that lived in the home escaped safely but 41 dogs did not make it out.
Police say they received the 911 call around noon Friday. When they arrived, they found the charred remains of the animals inside and approximately 60 more dogs that survived outside. Most of them were small breeds, including chihuahuas and miniature dobermans. Police then called investigators to the scene.
Though investigators are still working to determine what caused the fire, Greenbrier Fire Chief Cody Fulmer said it may have started by a wood stove at the front of the trailer. It was apparently fully engulfed by flames when crews arrived.
“The ignition of the fire, the way it started, that might play into whether charges are filed,” says David Hall with the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office. “I will say the dogs that were not injured in the fire are not malnourished. They looked well taken care of. They had been fed. They had been watered, (they were fine) other than being confined to a small space.”
Hall says the remaining animals have been seized for their own safety until investigators can determine whether there is some type of criminal intent involved in this case. At least nine animal rescue organizations have taken the dogs into their custody.
Hall says while he was on scene, several neighbors in the area presented him with pictures or descriptions of their own missing dogs, suspecting that they may be at this home. But Hall said none of those descriptions matched the animals seized from the property this afternoon.
Fulmer says the structure was being used as a grooming service for dogs. Animal rescue organizations are helping the dogs who survived.