On Thursday August 13th, the New York City Council passed a bill that will require pet stores to install automatic fire sprinklers. The bill specifies that pet stores and other businesses where animals are kept for 24 hours must have sprinklers installed by December 2016. This includes pet stores, kennels, pounds, and veterinary clinics that keep animals overnight.
The bill was introduced after animals in Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx were trapped in fires. When animals are capped in cages, there is no means of escape from the fire. In 2002, a four alarm fire in Inwood killed several puppies, kittens, birds, and fish. Another tragedy occurred in 2006 when an electrical fire broke out in a pet store located in Woodhaven, Queens. There were at least 12 animals that were reportedly killed, several injured, along with 12 firefighters who suffered injuries.
This is a real and serious danger that is preventable. One successful story occurred in 2014, when an alleged arson left a Las Vegas pet store on fire. Thankfully, the store had a fire sprinkler system in place, and the fire sprinklers were able to extinguish the fire until fire fighters arrived and saved all 27 puppies.
According to NFPA, establishments with fire sprinklers are 50-75% less likely to experience serious damage when compared to those without sprinklers. Installing a sprinkler system in pet stores will provide an important safety measure that can save both animal’s and people’s lives.