A fire at the Middletown Valley Beagles kennel in Frederick County, Maryland, killed 15 hounds and injured five late Christmas Eve night. There were 36 hounds in the kennel at the time of the fire, which was ruled accidental by the Frederick County Fire Marshal.
“It was a neighbor, Scott Montgomery, who came and saw the fire from the road,” said Amy Farber, a member of the hunt whose house is on the same property as the kennel. Her father, James Farber Sr., founded the pack.
“He was a real hero,” said Amy of Montgomery. “Thanks to his quick action, and neighbors and friends that came running, we were able to save so many.”
Amy alerted Alasdair Storer, the huntsman for the pack, and he rushed to the kennel to attend to the hounds.
“I’ve dealt with road accidents before as a huntsman but never something like this,” Storer said.
Pete Medd, a whipper-in with the hunt, started a GoFundMe page for the kennel that has raised more than $15,000 so far.
“The beagle kennels burned down and are gone. Some of the hounds were able to be rescued, but the impact is devastating,” Medd stated on the GoFundMe page. “We were there during triage as dogs were treated for significant burns and injuries.”
The hounds were treated by Dr. Brooks Ahalt, as well as two veterinarians who are members of the hunt, Dr. Michele McKenna and Dr. Ken Jacobsen.
“[He] did everything possible to treat the many dogs with injuries,” Medd wrote of Ahalt. “He was amazing along with everyone who was there to tend to the pack.”
Amy is now caring for the injured beagles in her home.
“The response has been incredible; so many people have stepped up to come care for them around the clock,” she said.
“The outpouring of support from the hunting community both locally, nationally and internationally has been very humbling,” Storer said. “We can’t thank them, our local firefighters and emergency response teams, and our veterinarians enough for what they’ve done to help us.”
Storer says he plans to hunt with the surviving, healthy members of the pack on Dec. 29.
“Mr. Farber and I both decided the best therapy for us, our members and our hounds is to hunt,” said Storer.
Middletown Valley Beagles is a private pack organized in 1969 and is supported by the New Market-Middletown Valley Hunt Club.