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Mice suspected in deadly cat fire

A genetically modified mouse plays with a cat at Tokyo University 13/12/2007
Mice or rats are thought to have chewed through electric wires

Mice may be responsible for a blaze that killed nearly 100 cats at an animal shelter near the Canadian city of Toronto, officials say.

The fire at the humane society shelter in Oshawa also killed three dogs and some rats that were up for adoption.

An initial report from the fire marshal says mice or rats chewing through electrical wires in the ceiling are likely to have sparked the blaze.

Offers of help have been pouring in from animal lovers across Canada.

"It's unfortunate and ironic that mice caused the fire that killed the cats," Toronto Humane Society spokesman Ian McConachie told the BBC News website.

"Unfortunately, the mice probably perished in the fire as well," he added.

The $250,000 (137,000) fire is still under investigation by the Ontario Fire Marshal's office.

Mr McConachie said it would be some days before a final report would be released.

In all, only nine dogs, two cats and one rat were rescued in Wednesday's early morning blaze.

They are being housed in a nearby municipal shelter, while volunteers rebuild the burnt-down shelter for the Humane Society of Durham Region.

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