SAN ANTONIO – Animal Care Services officers arrived at a chaotic scene on the city's South Side, where a house filled with dogs had caught fire.
San Antonio firefighters responded Wednesday afternoon to the 200 block of Betty Jean Street.
"A lot of dogs running around. Of course, they were very scared," said ACS spokeswoman Lisa Norwood. "So we really had our work cut out for us."
Two dogs died on the scene, but ACS was able to collect 12 others and bring them back to its facility. Their troubles, however, didn't cease after the fire.
One of the dogs died overnight, and three puppies have since been transferred to San Antonio Pets Alive! to be treated for parvovirus. Eight dogs remain in ACS quarantine kennel as a precaution due to their proximity to those with parvo.
Norwood said the dogs remaining in their care are in stable condition, and the damage from the fire appears to be minimal.
There was one other dog the veterinarian pulled into the clinic because they were worried about it, but the pooch was fine throughout the night, Norwood said.
Based on medical evaluations, the pets apparently were not vaccinated, microchipped or sterilized.
"It's something that's going to come into play with how they heal," Norwood said.
The dog that died had been found by firefighters at the scene, who gave the dog oxygen.
Norwood said the dog was rushed to ACS clinic in critical condition, where they set up a makeshift oxygen chamber.
"Given the circumstances of what happened with the fire, it just was a fight that they weren't able to win," she said.
San Antonio Pets Alive! clinic director Kylie Brasher said the puppies with parvo arrived at their facility on Marbach Road scared and smelling of smoke.
Brasher estimated their age at "maybe 3 months old."
"You could see the fleas crawling across their face, and the female in the front was not able to stand," Brasher said.
SAPA, which deals with hundreds of parvo cases each year, has kept the puppies isolated in its parvo ward to keep other dogs from contracting the contagious and potentially deadly virus.
Brasher said they believe the puppy that is most critical is also suffering from smoke inhalation.
"She's coughed up a bit of blood. So we're not just doing the IV fluids, (but) we're nebulizing her, and we're going to be putting her in an oxygen tank shortly," Brasher said.
The dogs that are still in ACS custody will remain quarantined until vets decide they do not have parvo.
The plan, Norwood said, is to place them with rescue groups, but it could be tricky due to the history of being near other dogs with parvo.
It's possible there are other pets from the home that ACS was not able to rescue.
The San Antonio Fire Department said Wednesday they counted anywhere from 15 to 20 dogs at the home and said there were cats they weren't able to catch.
Norwood said they are keeping an eye on the area for any other animals.