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Pet Connection took in the 'smoky' animals

Jul 19, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Lander Pet Connection was busy July 12 when a dozen animals from the Wind River Veterinary Clinic were housed after a fire July 11.

Pet Connection president Deborah Ellis said the six dogs and six cats were "scared" and "really smoky" when they arrived at her facility at 120 Chittim Road early July 12.

"Normally we close our dogs in at night, but we actually had to open the entire kennel up because (the smoke) was so overwhelming," Ellis said Thursday. "But they were doing OK considering -- to be transported to a new place and everything is unnerving for any animal, let alone when you're pulled out of a fire. They were doing much better than we thought they would."

Two Pet Connection volunteers arrived at the scene of the fire at about 12:30 a.m. July 12 and stayed on the property until about 2 a.m. to gather the dozen animals, Ellis said, commending the two residents who saved the creatures from the burning building.

"Kudos to them," Ellis said. "That's a pretty impressive thing to do."

The LPC kennel already was overcrowded, but she said volunteers made room for the critters Wednesday.

"We had 22 cats in our 700 square foot facility," Ellis said. "We had a dog in a crate all night because we didn't have room. ... It was a long day yesterday."

She said many of the animals belong to residents but were being boarded at the clinic or were staying there after surgery.

LPC was ready to keep any strays, but Ellis said clinic employees found other accommodations for the animals without homes.

"(They) took them all to personal residences," Ellis said. "They chose to move them out of our facility yesterday."

Two of the homeless animals had been impounded at the clinic because of a request by the City of Lander, Ellis said. She pointed out that the Wind River Veterinary Clinic was the only facility in Lander that took stray dogs for the city. Often the animals end up at LPC, but Ellis said they go through the clinic first to be vaccinated.

"So for now the interesting thing is Lander will not be impounding dogs," Ellis said. "A lot of people just wait for the dog catcher to catch their dog if it goes missing, (but) that's not going to be an option. ... People need to be sure their dog has identification tags on."

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