Georgetown City Manager David Morgan addressed the ordinance and occupancy requirements of pet boarding schools after a fire killed 75 dogs at the Ponderosa Pet Resort on Saturday.
The city manager message to the community said that although the city has a kennel permit ordinance, it has no requirements that would include fire suppression. Morgan said getting a kennel license doesn’t mean businesses are required to have sprinklers, smoke detectors or staff 24/7.
“We had a hell of a week here in our community with the tragic fire at the Ponderosa Pet Complex on Saturday,” Morgan said. “We are working to complete the investigation into the fire. We are also working to support families who have lost their beloved pets who are absolutely part of their family.”
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“Preliminary inquiries have not provided us with any information indicating that the cause of the fire was criminal in nature, and it is too early to comment further,” said the city of Georgetown. “The company confirmed that 59 families lost loved ones on Saturday.”
First responders report that the majority of the kennels lost in the fire had only one occupant, according to the city of Georgetown; some of the larger kennels had two dogs, and several kennels were also unoccupied.
“We are working on recommended updates to our fire codes and plan to present them to city council this fall,” the city said. “Regarding pet boarding schools, we plan to recommend adding a section on animal occupancy in our city fire code, which may require smoke detectors and / or watering systems in kennels and boarding houses for pets, regardless of square footage. ”
The city said it had no reason to believe the facility did not meet animal health standards.
“The codes for occupancy limits are subjective to allow flexibility based on the size of the space and the size of animals,” the city said.
The city said the Ponderosa Pet Resort has a license to operate, but not getting a license doesn’t mean the businesses can’t operate.
“Because we have not enforced the kennel license ordinance, we do not anticipate a citation to any of the three companies we know of, including Ponderosa, for not having a kennel license,” a the city said in the ad. “But we want to reiterate: obtaining a kennel license does not require suppressing fires.”
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