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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

14 Pit Bulls Saved From Concourse Blaze


A worker with Animal Care and Control of New York removes one of 14 pit bulls from a Grand Concourse apartment yesterday. (Photos by David Greene)

Firefighters battling a blaze on the Grand Concourse in Fordham Heights rescued 14 pit bulls that had apparently been living in the sixth-floor apartment. 

Authorities say the fire broke out on the top floor of 2186 Grand Concourse, at just before 3 p.m. on Monday, March 7. Witnesses say some of the dogs were overcome by the smoke and firemen gave several of the animals oxygen. 

Animal Care and Control of New York City reported removing a total of 14 dogs: nine adults, 1 pup and four newborns. An official stated that just one dog was injured in an apparent accident that occurred as the animal was being transported out of the building. That dog suffered a small gash on his noise, but the injury was not serious. 

Building super Brian Rivic was boarding up the heavily damaged apartment. He said the dogs' owner was apparently at work when the fire happened. 

"He has a lot of dogs but he takes care of them," Rivic said of the still-unidentified owner, adding, "He makes a few trips, he walks them in the morning and in the afternoon."

Neighbor Umberto Portuondo, who lives downstairs, said he was aware of the dogs.

"Yeah, I hear them all the time. They're always barking and making noise," he said, adding that he's seen the owner a few times with just a pair of dogs at a time, and thought the animals were housebroken. 

Asked what he thought the owner, a black man described as in his late 30s, was doing with so many pit bulls, Portuondo replied, "To tell you the truth I don't know. Maybe he was selling them or using them to fight." 

A source said the dogs would likely be taken to a American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals facility in Upper Manhattan for medical evaluation to see if they had been mistreated. The FDNY is also investigating the cause of the blaze, in which two members sustained minor injuries.


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