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Posted on: Thursday, 28 September 2006, 21:00 CDT

`Animal Terror' Eyed in Pet Store Blaze

By O'RYAN JOHNSON

An exotic pet shop in Cambridge that peddles fish, snakes and lizards was burned out last night in a possible act of environmental terrorism, the Cambridge fire chief said.

"It appears as though it's an act of terrorism, of animal terrorism, but it's a little confusing; to harm animals is not something you'd think an animal rights group would do," said Chief Gerald R. Reardon.

Authorities' fears were stoked when they responded to the fire and discovered black graffiti painted on the brick and concrete building face that reads "No more exploitation of animals" in large capital letters. It was an apparent reference to the Boston Tropical Fish and Reptile store which operates there. Reardon said there are similar markings inside the pet shop.

Reardon said the fire started inside the store about 9:47 p.m. and spread to shops above it and to an attached building. He said the fire appears to have injured several animals, but it was impossible last night to say how many or of what species.

He said the unfamiliar breeds of pets were a challenge to firefighters, who were not sure how to help them. Firefighters did pull out a few reptiles, and carried out an aquarium that housed a large tan-colored snake and a tuperware container containing other reptiles. Jakes put both on the ground outside next to the building.

"We're not really equipped to deal with this," Reardon said.

Cambridge Animal Control officers were en route to the fire last night to assist, Reardon said.

The heavy fire damage forced firefighters to cut power to the building which Reardon said is a concern due to the delicate environments many of the species there need to survive.

He said due to the suspicious circumstances surrounding the blaze, the fire is being investigated by the Cambridge Arson Unit, as well as the State Fire Marshal.

CAPTION: SOMETHING FISHY: Firefighters probe a suspicious fire at the Boston Tropical Fish & Reptile shop in Cambridge last night. STAFF PHOTO BY MATT STONE

(c) 2006 Boston Herald. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.


Source: Boston Herald


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