Pet Care, Keeping Fido Safe: Dog Kennel 101

The death of Martha Stewart's dog spurs pet gurus to offer tips about kennels.

ByABC News
March 9, 2009, 3:52 PM

March 10, 2009 — -- As domestic diva Martha Stewart mourns the death of her puppy, pet experts are warning owners to be extra diligent when choosing a facility to board their beloved pooches.

Stewart's chow chow, 5-month-old Ghengis Khan, was killed Friday when the Pazzazz Pet Boarding kennel in eastern Pennsylvania exploded after a propane tank ignited, setting the facility on fire. A total of 17 dogs were killed in the fire.

According to reports, officials said that a spark or static electricity could have been responsible for the fire, and that while the investigation is ongoing, the incident is being considering an accident.

Stewart declined to comment directly to but said in a posting on her blog that she was "deeply saddened" by the death of her dog. A representative for Stewart declined to specify why Ghengis Khan was at the kennel and not at Stewart's home at the time of the fire.

Joseph Lyman, the CEO of the Pet Care Services Association -- a nonprofit group that promotes professional standards of pet care -- said pet owners should make sure to thoroughly research the facilities where they board their animals to verify that they're equipped to handle emergencies like the one that killed Stewart's dog.

"The biggest point that pet owners should think about when boarding their pets is safety," Lyman said. "Does the facility have an adequate number of individuals in position to be able to overcome some of the obstacles that could arise at a kennel?"

While the degree to which kennels must be inspected in order to receive licenses varies from state to state, Lyman said Pet Care Services Association offers Voluntary Facilities Accreditations for those kennels that want to be certified under the organization's standards.

Lyman said that looking for kennels that have received VFAs on the organization's Web site is a good starting point when choosing your pet's next boarding facility.