‘It breaks my heart’: Bay City animal rescue gutted in fire

A devastating fire gutted a house used to help rescue and foster animals in Bay City.
Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 7:15 PM EDT
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BAY CITY, Mich. (WNEM) - A devastating fire gutted a house used to help rescue and foster animals in Bay City.

At least a dozen cats and one dog died in the fire Tuesday night, April 11.

The heartbroken owners are relying on the community to get back on their feet.

“We’ve always wanted to save animals, but this is just really hard for us,” rescue owner Amy Gokee said.

She and her husband Greg said they lost everything in a house fire Tuesday night in Bay City. Their house was home to Furfest Rockin’ the Rescues. The devastated couple said at least a dozen cats and one of their own dogs died in the blaze.

“It breaks my heart knowing how scared they must’ve been and we couldn’t get them,” Gokee said.

At the Bay County Animal Services and Adoption Center, donations from the community are pouring in for Furfest Rockin’ the Rescues, but more are needed.

“Cages, crates, food, litter, dog food, cat food, soft, wet, kitten food, senior food. Everything is needed. Bedding, leashes, collars. They lost everything,” Olivia Shields, the manager of the Bay County Animal Services and Adoption Center, said.

Shields said Furfest Rockin’ the Rescues is one of many foster-based rescues in Bay County and they play a vital role for animals in the area.

“They help the community, so when the community needs to find a home for their pet, or can no longer take care of them, the foster-based rescues are able to step in when we can’t,” Shields said.

The Gokees said they were able to save a lot of animals from the fire, and they were quick to point out both of their children at the home escaped the fire as well.

While they said they still need a lot of help, they’re grateful for the support they’ve already received.

“I just want everyone to know that we’re so thankful,” Gokee said. “I never thought this would happen to us, and I never really, I guess I never really realized how great our community is.”

The Bay City Fire Chief said the cause of the fire is under investigation, but it is not considered suspicious.

For more information on how you can help Furfest Rockin’ the Rescues, head over to Thursday section of the WNEM hotlinks page.

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