At least ten dogs and cats were trapped inside their cages and burned to death by a house fire in Chiang Rai’s Muang district on Sunday night.
Police said the fire, at a bungalow in Pho Khun road, Tambon Rom Wieng, started at 11.25pm.
When three fire engines arrived, they heard the distressed animals howling and crying because of the heat.
The animals had been kept in cages by the female occupant after she apparently picked them up from the streets to care for them.
Firefighters found it difficult to get inside as the gate was locked and there were piles of recyclable rubbish inside and outside the house. These piles of plastic bottles, old newspapers and clothes also caught fire very quickly.
The blaze was put out in about 30 minutes but by that time, most of the animals had died. Some several severely-burned dogs ran outside after the fighters freed them from their cages.
The 59-year-old woman, who lives alone in the house and was at work at the time, collects recyclable garbage during the day and washes dishes in a restaurant at night.
Police have yet to determine the cause of the fire.
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