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Thursday, January 27th, 2005 -- 11:49 AM

The head of the Clark County Humane Society calls a fire at the Chippewa County shelter ?tragic?. Over 75 animals perished in the blaze that destroyed the building on Monday night.

Chuck Wagner with the Clark County Humane Society says a fire is an animal shelter?s worst nightmare.

"You always worry about this sort of thing," Wagner says, "Even if you have a plan in place, you often times don't have the people there on the scene immediately to try to do anything."

Wagner says most shelters struggle with money and many ? like Clark County?s ? are in older, retrofitted buildings that make sprinkler systems virtually impossible to install.

Wagner says the Clark County Humane Society immediately offered their help after hearing about the fire - but with only 12 dogs surviving, there isn't much that can be done.

"We did offer any food or supplies they may need. We also offered to house any animals. Basically, (we) just let them know they could call on us for anything they needed. We'd be happy to help," Wagner said.

Wagner says non-pet owners may not realize how traumatic this incident was to the shelter volunteers.

"It is very much like a family member. It really hits you hard," Wagner explained.

Fire officials believe faulty wiring was responsible for the blaze.

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