Almost 100 dogs and cats are now in need of homes after a car crash caused a fire to break out at the Brandywine Valley SPCA's New Castle campus early Sunday.
First responders worked to contain a fire that started around 12:15 a.m. as BVSPCA staff and neighbors helped get 98 animals to safety. Three cats and the driver of the car lost their lives in the fire. Another cat is in emergency medical care in critical condition, BVSPCA spokeswoman Linda Torelli said.
“To find out that the helpless animals in that building were at such risk, and to have a woman lose her life on our property was really horrific for all of us. At the same time we’re incredibly grateful more animals weren’t injured thanks to the fast work of the first responders and the neighbors,” Torelli said.
The crash damaged the BVSPCA's vet clinic, reception area, exam rooms and holding areas at the New Castle campus.
The cat community room sustained water damage because firefighters broke through it. The dog side of the building suffered smoke and water damage.
In a BVSPCA press release, Latoya Cooper, 33, was identified as the driver of the car.
The animals have been moved to temporary housing, but are in the process of being moved to the SPCA’s locations in Georgetown and West Chester, Pa and the PetSmart adoption center in Dover.
“We really need help from the public because we now have approximately 98 animals that not only don’t have a home, they don’t have a shelter to find a home in. We need the public to come out to our other 3 locations and help adopt the animals and open up space so those other animals can find homes as quickly as possible,” Torelli said.
The BVSPCA is also seeking donations from the public to help the animals and the shelter.
They’re still assessing the damage and have no idea how much it will cost yet.
Torelli said the BVSPCA will be closed for an “undetermined period of time.”
The Brandywine Valley SPCA will hold a vigil for Cooper and the three cats that perished at 5:30 p.m. Monday at 600 South St. in New Castle.
So far, the BVSPCA has raised about $30,000 in community support to help recover the building from damage.
Visit the BVSPCA's fundly page for more information on the crash or to learn how to make donations.