5 dogs, 45 cats, 1 bird, 1 raccoon die in Brevard County house fire, officials say

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MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. - Dozens of animals were killed early Wednesday in a house fire in the 400 block of Kennwood Avenue in Merritt Island, Brevard County Fire Rescue said.

The fire was reported early Wednesday and investigators believe it started in a small bedroom.

Firefighters responded to the blaze but their efforts to rescue the occupants and the animals inside was hampered by multiple boarded windows and locked doors, fire rescue said.

Two people were in the house with 46 cats, 18 dogs, a bird and a raccoon when the fire started, officials said.

One cat and 13 dogs survived the fire, they said.

The surviving animals were taken from the property by Brevard County Animal Services and an animal cruelty investigator responded to the scene.

It is too early in the investigation to say if any charges will be filed, the Brevard County Sheriff's Office said.

Raw video: Firefighters respond to blaze in Brevard County

Raw video: Animals from Brevard County house fire taken by animal control

“Our animal cruelty investigator is definitely looking at all aspects, and what charges may apply,” said Cpt. Dave Jacobs of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

Channel 9 found out there was an anonymous complaint about the home last month about seven dogs in the home and the yard’s foul odor.

Deputies said the animal owners are distraught over their loss.

A neighbor who witnessed firefighters responding to the blaze said emergency personnel worked hard to keep as many animals alive as possible.

"There were about six firemen and they had all the oxygen, and were giving all the dogs oxygen -- petting them, loving them, talking to them -- it was a sight to see," she said. "Then I saw one (firefighter) giving a grey (dog) CPR ... and it came back to life."

The home’s occupants were able to escape without major injuries and some of the animals were rescued.

"It's just sad all the way around," the neighbor said, holding back tears. "We didn't know there were so many and I don't know why there were so many."

The cause of fire remains unknown.

Code enforcement officials plan to follow-up with the investigation Thursday. 

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