Kentucky kennel fire kills more than 50 dogs

Julia Musto
·3 min read

A devastating fire at a Kentucky dog kennel killed more than 50 dogs and puppies last week.

Ron Kraemer, the owner of Doggy Style Kennels in Bardstown, announced on Facebook alongside a video of the burning kennels, that he had returned home from buying dog food with his associate to discover the horrific scene.

"To my clients and friends, I came home from town today with a load of dog food to find my kennels in flames. I have lost all my dogs and puppies except for Candy that somehow pushed her way through the gate," he wrote. "You can imagine how devastating this is. My dogs were my life."

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Kraemer, who specialized in breeding Labrador Retrievers, told Fox News on Tuesday that 27 full-grown dogs died and the rest of the animals killed in the fire were puppies.

"On our way back, just as I began to pull into my road -- which is about 2 miles to my house from the beginning -- I got a call. It was one of my neighbors telling me that my kennels were on fire," he said. "I rushed home. When I got there, they were engulfed in flames. And, by that time, every animal had perished."

One of the female dogs, Candy, had escaped the flames in time by pushing her way through the gate.

"I guess her adrenaline gave her superpowers and she pushed her way out," Kraemer said.

Unfortunately, Kraemer told WAVE3 News that Candy had lost "every single one" of her litter.

The breeder, who has been working in the field for 25 years, said that attempts made by neighbors to save the dogs were fruitless and that -- although he thinks they called the fire department -- he could "plainly see it was too late for anything."

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Kraemer told WDRB that he hasn't been told how the fire officially started, but said Tuesday that he believes it was electrical.

He noted that the weather had chilled and that each doghouse of puppies had a heat lamp to keep them warm.

"It would appear looking at it in the very beginning, I have the security cameras, that it came from the right side which would have been where the heat lamps were," he said.

He noted there was "no accelerant or anything like that nowhere stored near" them.

He assured his followers that the fire would "not be the end of Doggy Style Kennels."

"We've got [cleaning] up to do," he told Fox News. "And then, I am going to get in the mode of bringing it back, bringing everything back to even better."

While Kraemer received many comments of support, WDRB reported he had also received criticism by some accusing him of running a puppy mill due to the number of dogs in the kennel at the time of the fire.

"If you want to call me a puppy mill because I have a continuous flow of puppies, go for it, alright? But there is nobody that does this better than I do. There is nobody that treats their dogs any better," Kraemer told the station.

Echoing his previous comments, Kraemer said Tuesday that he had seen the accusations and said that "nobody does what I do any better ... from a [humanitarian] and ethical standpoint."

Kraemer said he had sold thousands of puppies to owners in every state and has not had one unhappy client, to his knowledge.

"I am the most transparent breeder you've ever seen," he said, noting that "everything is recorded and shared in the community" and that he currently has more than "100 deposits."

"I do it because I love it and it's my passion," he said.

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A GoFundMe page has been set up by a former client and exceeded its $5,000 goal.

In a separate Facebook post a day later, Kraemer said he was overwhelmed by the support he's received.

"So, I'm blown away. I have people calling offering their dogs to breed and help, you know, replenish my stock," he said. "And, it's been mindblowing."