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Dozens of pets rescued from Ohio fire find homes

Published: Saturday, Feb. 11 2012 9:14 p.m. MST

MOUNT HEALTHY, Ohio — Several dozen animals have found temporary shelter after Ohio firefighters rescued at least 60 pets from a house fire in a Cincinnati suburb.

Authorities responding to the Thursday morning fire found a menagerie of about a dozen snakes, 18 rats, a hedgehog, a chinchilla, birds, rabbits and other creatures. Most of the animals survived the fire at the Mount Healthy home, although at least one iguana and two cats died.

Pet owner Nikki Hagaman, who volunteers at The Animal House pet store that also rescues animals, was not at home when the fire broke out. She said she had at least 77 pets.

"I can't say no," she told The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Authorities couldn't say Friday the exact number of animals rescued, but Harold Dates of SPCA Cincinnati put the number at just over 60. He said the animals were well-cared-for but a "little shaken up." He said they went to rescue groups, volunteers or friends.

Hagaman told the media she believes a heat bulb used to keep her reptiles warm may have started the fire. Many of the rescued pets were taken to the pet store after the fire.

Adam Charles and his wife of Colerain Township took in almost three dozen animals, including ferrets, guinea pigs and rats. Charles said the animals were adjusting to their new surroundings.

He said one of the rats has a broken back and the ferrets were coughing and sneezing from inhaling too much smoke.

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