GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — One week later, hearts are still aching after dozens of dogs lost their lives in the Ponderosa Pet Resort fire.
Now, close to 15,000 neighbors have signed a petition, supporting change that could prevent something like this from happening again.
On Sunday, it was with heavy hearts that Don and Pam Richards visited the growing memorial outside of Ponderosa’s fence.
There are flowers, photos, notes, and now even tennis balls shaped into a heart.
“Yeah, those are new.” Don said.
Written on each tennis ball is the names of 75 pets who lost their lives in the fire.
“It hurts, you can actually feel a broken heart,” Pam said.
Even within the heartache, the Richards family pushes for change.
“I have been on Facebook pushing the petition in West Virginia, Ohio…because it’s not just happening here,” Pam said. “It’s happening throughout the United States.”
The petition, now close to 15,000 signatures, calls for sprinkler systems at all pet boarding facilities, staff to be on sight 24/7, among other safety items.
“One of the interesting things that I think happened in the last few days is one of the major kennels has decided to increase its due diligence to make sure it doesn’t happen at their place,” Don said.
Don is talking about Zoot Pet Hospital and Luxury Boarding — just 10 minutes around the corner from Ponderosa.
An employee told KXAN they’re working to install sprinklers and arranging for someone to be on site at all times.
“There’s something good to come out of this, that’s all we can hope,” Don said.
As the Richards continue leaning on each other and others who lost pieces of them, their puppies Bunny and Clyde will forever be in their hearts.
“That they are,” Don said.
According to the City of Georgetown’s website, its city council is working on creating a permanent memorial for family members that lost pets in the fire.
According to the meeting agenda, they are considering allocating $25,000 for the memorial.
Funding could be approved at Tuesday’s 6 p.m. meeting.