‘I can’t help no animals now’: Animal rescuer loses home, 10 dogs in house fire

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 6:30 PM EST
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PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - A weekend fire in Floyd County destroyed a family’s home of more than 30 years, turning their shelter- which also served as a shelter to area animals- to a mess of ash and debris.

“My family has nowhere to go. You know, they’re going to start all over,” said Jessica Harris. ““We have nothing. We have no insurance. We don’t know how we’re gonna start over. It’s just... it’s like, I looked at one of the firefighters and I was like, ‘What are we gonna do now?’”

Harris has worked with an animal rescue based in Canada, taking in foster pets as they await placement into their forever homes.

Now, with the childhood home gone, the ability to shelter the pets is gone as well. Not only was the home claimed in the fire, but seven rescue dogs and three of the family dogs were unable to escape the flames.

“I don’t have words for it. It’s just... it’s sickening,” she said.

Harris’ brother, the only one around when the fire started, tried to get the dogs to safety. But the flames and smoke filled the home before it was even a possibility.

Though the smoke has cleared, the family still sees no way ahead after losing everything. So, the rescue community Harris has cultivated is working to put them back on their feet so she can get back to helping the paws of the region.

“Right now, I have nowhere to put fosters unless I stick them outside in a kennel,” she said. “And the weather right now is just not acceptable to do that. So, I have nowhere. I can’t help no animals now.”

A couple of fundraisers have been set up, which Harris has shared with her Facebook friends, hoping to get enough support to regain shelter. Some other rescue workers have donated clothing and more in the aftermath, and one business is offering a promotional giveaway to raise money for the family.