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Firefighters rescue dogs from Selma breeding facility

A former employee of Puppy Paradise said eight of about 45 animals inside at the time did not survive.

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SELMA, N.C. — Firefighters rescued more than 35 dogs from a blaze at a Selma breeding facility Wednesday morning.

Suzanne Griffin, a former employee of Puppy Paradise, at 1188 W. Blanche St. (extended), said eight of about 45 animals inside at the time did not survive.

Firefighters initially estimated that there were 150 dogs at the facility but changed their estimate based on the owner's statement.

"She is devastated right now. She loved every single dog in that place," Griffin said of owner Jean Crocker.

A neighbor reported the fire just after 8:30 a.m.

Firefighters said the dogs were trapped in their cages, but someone at the scene freed as many of them as possible. Not all were able to escape the old building, part of which collapsed in the fire.

"I'm a dog owner myself, so of course it affects me. I hate to see any animal perish like that," said Gary Wood of the Pine Level Volunteer Fire Department.

Investigators were trying to determine how the blaze started. They said there was no evidence the fire had been set.

Crocker's family said she had bred and raised lap dogs at Puppy Paradise for more than 30 years. They said the business used to be bigger but had been scaled back over the years.

The dogs who survived the fire were moved to another location on the property. 


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