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Fire Destroys Kentucky Animal Shelter, Several Animals Perished

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At least a dozen cats, a resident guinea pig, one dog died in a fire that completely destroyed a Woodbine, Kentucky animal shelter.

At about 9:45pm last Friday, fire fighters responded to reports of a fire at the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter, where 37 cats and 15 dogs were being housed and cared for while awaiting adoption into permanent homes.

Sassy, Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter'S Resident Dog And Greeter, Did Not Survive The Fire That Destroyed The Shelter.
Sassy, Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter’s resident dog and greeter, did not survive the fire that destroyed the shelter.

Surrounded by smoke, a building engulfed in flames, and a collapsing roof, firefighters and volunteers rushed through the shelter, kicking in kennel doors and opening cages to free as many animals as possible. In the chaos, several dogs escaped, but were later found. Sadly, the cats were housed in the center of the building and many perished in the fire. One dog, Sassy, the shelter’s mascot and greeter, who happily welcomed every visitor to the shelter each day, did not survive the blaze.

Firefighters continued soaking the fire and putting out hot-spots for nearly 12 hours before the fire was completely out.

While the cause of the fire remains unknown and under investigation by the Kentucky State Police arson investigator, the shelter was completely destroyed, leaving those animals that survived in need of homes and the shelter in desperate need of funds to rebuild.

Through the devastation and loss, however, Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter did have some good news to report. All of the surviving animals have found their way to loving forever homes. They shared the following post on Facebook:

On behalf of dogs and cats in shelters and rescue groups everywhere, the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter would like to ask anyone who was interested in adopting one of our fire survivors to consider adopting another animal from a different shelter or rescue group.

In the backwards way the world works sometimes, our fire survivors are the fortunate ones. Our animals received media attention and wiggled into the hearts of many kind and compassionate people who offered to give them a home. As a result, each animal is safely in or on their way to their forever home. And for this, we are truly grateful.

However, there are 1,000s of animals in shelters and rescues that are equally deserving of a forever home. Yet, through no fault of their own, they are in cages, lonely, unloved and waiting.

Thanks to an outpouring of support from the community and nearby shelter and rescue groups that have donated emergency shelters, the Knox-Whitley is once again operating and accepting strays in hopes of finding them loving homes, though the shelter is not equipped to handle owner surrendered animals until they can rebuild a permanent shelter structure.

Everything was lost in the fire. And while the shelter will graciously accept any and all donations, what they really need at the moment are funds to rebuild.

Tax deductible donations may be made directly to Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter via PayPal at http://tinyurl.com/KWAS-Fire-Fund

You may also donate at the Forcht Bank in Corbin and London. The Corbin branch can be reached at 606-528-3660. The London branch can be reached at 606-864-9500.

Drop-off donations may be made at two locations:

Knox County Veterinary Services
314 High Street
Barbourville, KY 40906

Whitley County EMS
1002 Aviation Blvd
Williamsburg, KY 40769

At a time of year when we traditionally reach out to one another in appreciation, there’s no better way to give thanks than to support those that dedicate their lives selflessly to others. Please help Knox-Whitley to rebuild.

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  1. Avatar Of Adriane Wallace

    Adriane Wallace


    Thanks for the report Doug, that is a miracle!! I hope they fix the Pay Pal link so we can send donations as well as spread all over facebook to hopefully raise more….

  2. Avatar Of Margaret Robitaille

    Margaret Robitaille


    May all the animals that died in the fire RIP. Hopefully the shelter will be up and running in full force again soon. so sorry this has happened to your shelter and animals.

    • Avatar Of Doug Hufziger

      Doug Hufziger


      Thank you for reporting the fire. To say there isn’t any miracles. They found yesterday in the rubble a cat named Freckles. With only burned whiskers and burned paws. Also a dog(Ziggy) who had escaped from the burning building and had ran into the woods.

  3. Avatar Of Marianne Riddile

    Marianne Riddile


    The PayPal link does not work. Please fix it!

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