Tragic Fire Could Inspire Change


This tragedy is unfathomable, but perhaps good can come from it.  According to media reports 30 dogs were killed in the fire on January 14 at Bully Life Animal Services (formerly D and D Kennels), on county Farm Road in West Chicago.  Garrett Mercado wasn’t at home at the time of the fire, as he lived at this facility. Just as important, according to media reports, as many dogs were rescued – many by first responders, and Mercado himself when he arrived home.

This is a tragedy in so many ways. Mercado, who will be on my WGN Radio Show on Sunday morning, 6:35AM CDT, 720AM or, lost his own dogs in the blaze. Mercado is well known among many local Chicago rescuers for his determination to “rehab” dogs in need of behavior “adjustments” before they may be adopted. If it wasn’t for Mercado’s willingness and ability to help these dogs, most may likely have been euthanized.

The facility passed inspection from the Illinois Department of Agriculture and had zero local violations. There were fire alarms, but no there at the time of the fire to hear the alarms.

I believe Illinois now requires two laws:

  • Sprinkler systems: It IS a law that there are sprinklers in day care centers for children; I believe kennels (including dog daycares) should be held to the same standard.
  • 24/7 a human being must be on the premises.

Unsure, at this moment, how the fire began – it’s unclear for certain as to whether or not how these two laws could have made a difference, but common sense dictates they may have.