St. Johns County

Ayla’s Acres No-Kill Animal Rescue destroyed by fire, killing 11 animals

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla — It’s a heartbreaking image for people who love helping animals, as 11 cats and birds died in an animal sanctuary fire. George the cat made it out and was in the hospital for a few days, but died Christmas night.

“The whole thing has been pretty devastating,” said Fran Charlson, executive director, Ayla’s Acres No-Kill Animal Rescue.

Charlson said a heater they were using to keep an African tortoise warm at their sanctuary in Greenville, Florida, caught some hay on fire.

“Hay then caught the house on fire, and the whole house went up very quickly,” said Charlson.

The sanctuary was destroyed.

“It’s been very hard. We put a lot of time and effort into the sanctuary,” Charlson said.

But, they have about 140 unadoptable animals that are OK and need a home.

“We need to rebuild as quickly as possible,” she said.

Charlson said while they’ve raised $50,000, they need about $50,000 more.

“We’re doing everything we can to raise money,” she said.

Charlson said they are still looking for three cats.

Please consider making a donation at or from the donate button at this post to help the animals.