Heroic act of guard saves dozens of dogs from Ankara shelter fire

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Dozens of dogs trapped in a shelter in the capital Ankara due to a fire that broke out on Tuesday evening have been saved by the heroic act of the shelter’s guardian.

As the fire destroyed part of the shelter, police launched an investigation suspecting arson.

The flames quickly spread due to high winds. The guard called the fire department shortly after hearing the dogs barking. He rescued at least 55 dogs before firefighters arrived on the scene.

In addition to the firefighters, the Sincan District Municipal Veterinary Team also arrived at the scene to medically examine the dogs. The owner of the refuge, Emine Özer, urged animal lovers to show their support after the fire.

“I have been taking care of stray animals for five years with my own means and the support of animal friends. I also take care of the dogs that couldn’t survive on the streets, in the private shelter built four months ago on the land I rented from Sincan,” she said.

A journalist is seen in the burnt-out shelter, Ankara, Turkey, December 1, 2021. (AA Photo)

“We arrived shortly after the call from the refuge caretaker. Fortunately, there were no casualties. We brought 50-55 blankets to prevent the animals from getting cold in this weather. But part of the kennels and care equipment was destroyed by fire. Our keeper opened the cage door where two puppies were, he took them out,” Özer said, adding that she had left the shelter shortly before the fire started.

Özer said they were leaning towards the suspicion of arson.

Meanwhile, Tülay Danacıoğlu, an animal rights activist, said that as soon as they heard about the fire, they came to the shelter with many volunteers and association members.

“The dogs were not injured thanks to the guardian in charge. He opened the enclosures and took the animals out. Fortunately, this is our only consolation right now,” Danacıoğlu said and added that Sincan District Governor Abdullah Küçük called them after the incident and wished them a speedy recovery. He also said they were following the incident closely.

Danacıoğlu thanked the volunteers, association members, police and municipal officials, and everyone who came to support them. “I hope the wounds will heal as soon as possible,” she added.

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