Fire near Sparta kills dogs, cats; 14 animals in all

More than three dozen dogs and two cats died from smoke inhalation after a house fire north of Sparta.

Fire officials said crews were sent to a house fire in Monroe County on Sunday afternoon and had to force their way into the building to gain access.

Once inside, they found several dogs kenneled on the first story. A total of 14 adult dogs, 12 puppies and two cats died.

Several dogs that were in outside kennels were unharmed.

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Sparta Area Fire District Chief Mike Arnold said the fire started in the kitchen area. The first floor of the building was damaged by fire and smoke, and the second floor sustained smoke damage.

The cause of the fire is being investigated, the La Crosse Tribune reported.