Local News

Animals Killed in Suspicious Fire

Posted April 9, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Police in Vance County are investigating a suspicious fire that killed several animals Monday. The blaze killed nine puppies and destroyed an office belonging to Nick Ferrio and his family.

The Ferrios make their living training dogs, and also own several exotic animals. Included in the menagerie are two Siberian tigers, two African lions and a pair of timber wolves. Nick Ferrio says they plan to eventually open a zoo.

The fire broke out at about 11 p.m. Monday in a back room of Ferrio's home. That's where he had set up a makeshift office. It's also where the nine puppies were killed.

Police say neighbors didn't want the animals living so close to their homes. That fact, plus clues found at the scene of the fire, have police searching for a possible arsonist.

Neighbor Algie Tingen said he worries about the animals, but would rather solve the problems with words.

Also Monday night, Vance County Commissioners passed an ordinance prohibiting zoos. Ferrio believes the new ruling will have no effect on him based on a letter he got from the county attorney in February. He does, however, plan to watch his property carefully.

Ferrio has now moved some of his animals to safer locations. He says he hasn't decided if he will still plan to open the zoo.