'She was supposed to be in someone's care.' 1 dog dead, another injured, Seattle woman abroad seeks change after boarding facility fire
UPDATE 11/17/2023: The family of North, the last dog that was missing after the fire at The Dog Resort, recently discovered that he was found dead around 9 p.m. Oct. 13. North was struck by traffic on Spokane Street, roughly half a mile from the fire.
"We are devastated; North was our world. He loved running, swimming, hiking, camping, playing loop in the snow and chasing after skiers, and living in the Pacific Northwest as much as we do," North's owner Rachel Quinn said in a statement.
Original article below.
eorgie was rescued in Taiwan, after she wandered onto a road and was almost killed by traffic. She was rescued again when Allison Scarborough adopted the 12-week-old street dog and brought her to the United States.
Scarborough and Georgie moved around, from California, to Texas, and eventually Seattle. They picked up Remi, a black and white Pomeranian and Siberian Husky mix, along the way, so Georgie would have a buddy. They all settled into a life in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood to be closer to Scarborough's family.
The dogs were there when Scarborough was diagnosed with cancer, as she went through treatment, and when she got word that she was cured last summer. Scarborough planned a celebratory trip to Japan upon hearing the good news. That's where she was Monday, relaxing after spending the day in Osaka.
Then she started seeing posts on social media about a fire at The Dog Resort, the SoDo boarding facility where she left Remi and Georgie at before leaving for Japan. She had used the facility a "handful of times" over the past couple of years. Having heard nothing from the business, she was hunting down any information she could find.
Then the phone rang.
"I got this phone call, expecting it to be The Seattle Dog Resort letting me know something was ongoing, but it was WSDOT notifying me that I needed to come pick up my dog's body," Scarborough said.
Georgie was found on the side of I-5 in the SoDo area, not far from the fire at The Dog Resort. Pets were evacuated from the facility and many ran into the streets. Scarborough told the Washington State Department of Transportation worker that she was in Japan and didn't know why Georgie was loose.
"She was supposed to be in someone's care, a professional facility's care," she said. "I felt terrible. The WSDOT guy was offering, on his lunch break, to bring her to a vet. I didn't want her just be thrown away."
Georgie was taken to a vet, where her remains were processed. She was 5 years old.
Remi went missing until Thursday, when "she was spotted by a good Samaritan who saw that she was hurt," Scarborough said.
According to the Seattle Animal Shelter, a witness saw Remi fall from a freeway overpass onto the ground below. This was near Lumen Field, about 2.5 miles north of The Dog Resort. An officer with the shelter responded and transported Remi to an emergency veterinarian. She is in stable condition, according to the shelter.
Another dog who fled the fire at The Dog Resort, North, remains missing. The Dog Resort says it has organized searches of the SoDo neighborhood for North, as well as in downtown, Wallingford, and Green Lake areas. If spotted, the business notes that the dog is nervous and should not be approached. Call 206-362-3836 or 206-436-9107 if North is seen.
Fire at The Dog Resort
While in Osaka, Scarborough reached out to the City Council, urging a review of local regulations of dog boarding businesses, which she argues are "quite limited." She would like stronger requirements around fire suppression systems, established evacuation plans, minimum insurance, and staffing.
"While it remains to be determined if the loss of my dogs could have been prevented, this incident and numerous similar others at this facility highlight regulations for animal facilities are at great disparity..." Scarborough wrote to the Council. "I implore you to assess the regulations for these facilities through a comprehensive lens and seek change. I am devastated and at a loss given my limited pathways for help. Please help prevent this from happening again."
The fire at The Dog Resort broke out shortly before 8:30 p.m. Monday night. Dogs were evacuated and many got loose into the neighborhood. Seattle police officers were called in to help gather dogs and bring them back to the site. Other dogs eventually returned on their own.
The Seattle Fire Department says the cause of the fire is "undetermined," and estimates the loss at $150,000. The SoDo fire is the second fire that The Dog Resort has experienced within a year. The first blaze, in February, was at its Lake City location.
"I thought that was a freak incident, so I trusted that they were prepared...I don't understand how they didn't take lessons learned from the first fire an implement better evacuation protocol to prevent lost dogs this time," Scarborough said.
As she attempted, from Osaka, to find information on what was occurring in Seattle, Scarborough came across an article that mentioned where the dogs were being moved to. That led her to make one phone call, then another.
"They never proactively contacted me," she said, adding that she eventually got information confirming that Remi was missing.
Other dog owners have reportedly expressed similar experiences after the fire. Scarborough said she also was able to speak with the business owner, but there were no other updates.
Eventually, she began posting messages on The Dog Resort's Facebook page, asking about what was being done about missing dogs. After that, The Dog Resort began posting flyers for Remi and North. Scarborough kept in touch with volunteers who have been searching for the dogs and expressed deep gratitude. She is now hoping for North to be found safe.
"Thank you to all of the volunteers. I have been watching it from afar and I've been so impressed with how people are willing to give their time to find my dog, how thorough they are being, how they are organizing. I'm at a complete loss and helpless from here. I can't express my gratitude for them, and they way they are helping me and Remi."
The Dog Resort has not responded to KUOW's requests for comment.