Michigan funeral service to be held for dogs in kennel fire

A western Michigan funeral home will host a community memorial service for 30 dogs that died in a boarding kennel fire late last month.

Clock Funeral Home of Muskegon is hosting the service April 12 for families to share memories of their pets that died at Storm’s Ahead Kennel in Fruitport Township.

Each pet that perished in the March 30 fire has been identified. Public safety officials haven’t yet determined what caused the fire, but they ruled out arson.

“This service will be an opportunity for the pet parents to honor the life of their four-legged family members, as well as receive support from each other and the surrounding community,” said Jodi Clock of Clock Funeral Home. Therapy dogs and grief support will be provided at the service, she said.

Lake Orion-based Paw Pods donated urns and burial containers for the dogs.

The fire occurred while many area schools began spring break and families traveled out of town. The kennel was full when co-owner Janet Rehfus awoke at around 4:40 a.m. at her home near the kennel property. Rehfus noticed a glow from the fire and immediately called the fire department, but first responders couldn’t rescue the pets in time.

The kennel was engulfed in flames when the firefighters arrived, according to Brian Michelli, public safety director for Fruitport Township.

“Many of those dogs have been coming to me for years, some of them were dogs that we bred and sold,” Rehfus told The Muskegon Chronicle. “We’re heartbroken and trying to make sense of it all.”  (AP)

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