RICHLAND CENTER, Wis. (WMTV) — More than 20 animals are dead and one family is in mourning after a fire tore through their home in Richland Center. The fire happened on Sunday, January 22nd upon County Highway O. The home belongs to Judy Elliott, the owner of Richland Area Rescue. That’s an pet shelter that, according to their website, has ben rescuing horses, dogs, cats and other domesticated creatures since 1998.

Elliott’s home was destroyed by the nearby shelter on the same shelter was not damaged. All the pets housed within the shelter were not hurt.

Elliott’s love for animals goes back decades.

“She would sneak out her crib when she old enough, 2, 3, and go to the barn, bring in the particular cats plus kittens in the house, so they had to put a sheet over the crib and tie it to keep the girl in because she was constantly either sleeping within the barn or have the cats on the porch so it’s been a long haul for her, ” Elliott’s sister Janet Conner said.

That is why Elliott decided to open Richland Region Rescue, the volunteer-run, domestic animal rescue. But even after 26 years of love plus cuddles, nothing could have prepared the Elliott family for the tragedy they faced over the particular weekend.

“My aunt called me at one in the morning, she’s like your mom known as, she stated she offers a house open fire, she didn’t know how bad it was, ” Judy’s daughter Becky Elliott said.

Becky said the home and even some associated with the creatures who passed away were ones that will she and her brother grew up with.

“Came more than the hill and all I could see was flashing lights from like two miles away and my heart just sank. ”

Judy made it out alive, but her family says she would have given up her life if this means the particular animals would have survived.

“She’s strong and tough and will-powered, stubborn on the outside but the girl heart along with those pets, I don’t understand how she’ll get through that if she ever will. ”

If there is one silver lining it is the immense amount of community support the family members has received, with over four Richland Center businesses starting fundraisers. To show your support, visit the Richland Area Rescue Facebook page at .

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