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Protecting Pets In Kennel Fires


When over 30 dogs were killed in a fire in West Chicago (Bully Life Animal Services or formerly D and D Kennels),  2N442 County Farm Road on January 14, I thought this shouldn’t ever happen again. Indeed, this tragedy, and others like it – which do happen around the country – are often preventable.

With working fire alarms connected directly to first responders, the fire department would have gotten there much earlier. Obviously, a sprinkler system could have helped to alleviate this tragedy. It happened no human was at the kennel at the time, so loud fire alarms do nothing as dogs can’t call the fire department. Of course, fire alarms are currently mandated – as they should be – by most local municipalities.

I contacted Marc Ayers, Illinois Director of the Humane Society of the United States to craft legislation regarding kennel fires, to mandate alarm system linked to dispatch OR a fire sprinkler suppression system for kennels, if no human is on the premises.

Ayers agreed this idea will save lives. Diane Pappas (D-45th district) stepped up to help to create a bill, and is sponsoring HB 3390. The co-sponsor is Allen Skillicorn (R-66th district).

If you live in Illinois, before Wednesday when a committee meeting is scheduled, please do contact your local state representative or state senator to support.

Imagine returning home from a vacation to learn your beloved family pet has died a terrible death in a fire. And, what’s more that death could have been prevented.

Fire experts, alarm and sprinkler systems save lives.

What’s more, with early warnings, fires don’t likely grow as quickly, perhaps preventing a fire to spread to adjacent buildings. Also, with an early warning fighting fires isn’t as dangerous for fire fighters. Rescuing dogs during a fire can furthermore potentially endanger fire fighters.

Besides, in my view, if we need to do these things for day care centers for children – we should meet the same criteria for our pets, as they are indeed members of the family.

Rep. Pappas will be on the air with me Sunday morning, 6:35AM CDT on WGN radio (720AM or listen here).

There have been all sorts of questions subsequent to the fire about the training techniques and other safety issues regarding this facility. I don’t know the answers to any of that. What I DO know is that if we take action, tragedies like this may be averted in the future.

If this passes in Illinois, the suggestion is that it may be a model for other states regarding kennel fires  – which would save even more animals.

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