Fire from Outdoor Space Heater Kills Family of Dogs, Owner Charged

Posted by Jason Sarna
kennel fire
Screenshot via Facebook

A pit bull mix mother and three of her puppies died in a fire that was caused by a space heater.

According to Pensacola News Journal, the space heater was inside the dog's outdoor kennel to keep the dogs warm during a recent cold snap in Cantonment, Florida. The space heater was most likely knocked over by one of the dogs.

The owner of the dogs, Carlos Moorer, received three citations, which included three counts of animal cruelty for inadequate shelter, two counts of non-potable water, and two citations for unlicensed and unvaccinated animals.

Escambia County Public Information Officer Joy Tsubooka wrote in an email:

"The officer who responded last night wrote multiple violations to homeowner. The citations were written as a mandatory court appearance, and we will ask the judge for injunctive relief to prevent him from owning animals for whatever time the judge determines."

 

The fire was brought to the attention of animal services by Laura Gunn Catterton, who detailed the incident and posted a video of the fire to Facebook.

Catterton wrote on Facebook:

"I heard the dog screaming. I climbed over the fence but couldn't save them."

UPDATE 1/02/18 - Animal Control wrote citations for the owner last night and told him to bring the dogs inside. Owner has mandatory court appearance and since this is the 3rd offence, the county will try to get an injunction to prohibit him from owning animals!!Cantonment, FL - Mama dog and 3 puppies BURNING TO DEATH in an outdoor rickety cage on stilts. Electrical heater caught on fire. Owner doesn't live there. 3 other litters in 4 chain link kennels behind cage on stilts. Puppies will be shivering in little barrels tonight. 10 degree Windchill. Animal Control says there's nothing they can do. How about seizing the puppies? THIS IS LOCATED JUST BEHIND MY HOUSE!Cantonment, FL - Hwy 97 just south of Iron Horse. - 1/01/18 6 PM - Worse thing ever!!! Dog burned to death right behind our yard. omg! HORRIFIC Puppies burned to death too. Fire Dept here. I heard the dog screaming. I climbed over fence but couldn't save them. Mama dog in outside cage on stilts. OMG! Waiting for Animal Control. UPDATE 7 PM - I talked to ACO on call. He wouldn't even go in the backyard to document the dead dog/puppies. They're calling it an accident. Apparently, an electric heater chord caught on fire that was inside the rickety cage on stilts, igniting something. NO CHARGES AGAINST OWNER. Never leave heaters unattended. The owner doesn't even live there but comes over to feed his dogs. He has 3 litters of puppies in the 4 chain link kennels next to the burned out cage on stilts. He's a BACKYARD BREEDER. Those pups have barrels for shelter but my GOD, it's going to be so cold tonight. I told ACO the pups have no food, SEIZE THE DOGS TONIGHT. Nope, can't do that. No laws broken. OMG- I' furious.The ACO on call told me to go into AC tomorrow to file an affidavit but I know it will go no where. I've been filing affidavits on this neighbor for 13 years and the neglect continues. All his dogs used to be on chains 24/7 but he *loves his dogs*I took lots of pics and got video of the cage burning (you can't see the dog in the video.AC doesn't think puppies outside in 20 degree temps is neglect. WTH? I'm furious with AC not investigating. This has been one of the worst nights of my life and the owner will not be held accountable for the agony and suffering mama dog and pups endured. Pray for the remaining 3 litters outside in the kennels tonight - windchills about 10 degrees.

Posted by Laura Gunn Catterton on Monday, January 1, 2018

John Robinson, division manager of Escambia County Animal Control, said he has publicly pleaded time and time again with pet owners to bring their animals inside during frigid winter days and nights.

Robinson said:

"When it's this cold, people just need to bring their animals inside, it makes no sense not to. We don't have an ordinance that forces people to bring those animals inside, but they really need to bring them inside and they really don't need to use space heaters, heat lamps, things like that, because this is exactly the type of issue you'll have. Either a dog will get burned by it or they'll fall over and start a fire. There's a lot of issues that come with putting a heating device in a small compact shelter or pen."

In addition to the four dogs that died, seven other dogs were discovered on Moorer's property. The dogs were all kept outside in three fenced pens, each of which had a barrel for shelter. Moorer was ordered to take the surviving dogs inside his house.

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Fire from Outdoor Space Heater Kills Family of Dogs, Owner Charged