A 14 year old is being held, and questioned, after an expected arson attack was launched against a Manchester based shelter for dogs called Manchester Dogs’ Home. The teenager responsible has not yet been named but as of now, we know that more than 50 dogs have been killed in the blaze with the police stating they expect that number to rise.
Firefighters were called to the scene in Harpurhey shortly after 7pm on Thursday when a fire broke out in a kennel section. Around 150 dogs were rescued from the fire and as of now they are being moved to the sister home of Manchester Dogs’ Home in Grappenhall, Cheshire.
Local residents said they could hear “dogs yelping” as the fire spread. Following this story making the news, or people actually being close enough to see and hear it, hundreds of local residents flocked towards the site with dog blanket, cages and food, with some of the people who arrived wading into the fire to save the animals who were trapped. The two heroes were Jason Dyer, 41, and his nephew Dean Rostock, 25, who both jumped over the fence and kicked open kennel doors where the dogs could be heard yelping.
Between them, the pair rescued around 20 dogs, putting leads on them and bringing them to safety before tying them to a nearby fence. Jason said: “All the windows of where the dogs are advertised for sale were blown out and the ceiling was collapsed. We initially ran into the bit that was on fire but we couldn’t get those dogs out. We went to the other kennels and began kicking out the doors. We just wanted to get them out. This place is part of our childhoods. We both have dogs and love dogs – of course we are going to run in there. We just wanted to make sure as many as possible would be okay.”
The fire was finally brought under control but required 30 firefighters to work against the spread which has caused damage to about a third of the kennels.
Superintendent Marcus Noden said: “We are in the very early stages of the investigation and have a young boy in custody, however we would ask if anyone was in the area and remembers seeing anything suspicious around the dogs’ home that they call police and tell us what they know. We have received an overwhelming response from the public and would ask if anyone wants to help they can make donations of food or bedding to North Manchester divisional headquarters on Northampton Road in Newton Heath.”
It appears that the public took this last remark about donations to heart. Animal lovers have united using the power of social media to help raise more than £700,000 in donations, with more donations still pouring in. A Facebook group called ‘Dog selfie for Manchester dogs home’ has been set up urging users to donate. Started by 25-year old Joe Farrar, the Facebook page leading the campaign, “Dog selfie for Manchester dogs’ home”, already has more than 4,000 likes. Mr. Farrar said “It knocked me sick when I saw the story, I thought there was an opportunity to get my local community in Wythenshawe involved and donating, and well it’s spiraled and it’s been unbelievable.”
The response has been so positive that the goal of 1 million pounds is set to be eclipsed over the weekend and no end in donations seems foreseeable. As a dog, and animal lover, myself this story certainly pulls at my heart and the desire for the teenager responsible for this atrocious crime needs to be brought to justice quickly. The police are however going to question him thoroughly and hopefully we shall be able to understand why this boy felt the need to set fire to animal shelter. The fact that people were so quick to donate either their money or their time to this seems to suggest that people still care about these animals. The money will hopefully be put to good use, and will allow these dogs to be treated well for the rest of their lives. They have seen far more trauma than we could possibly hope, I sincerely hope that they can be given the very best life imaginable following this and that the people of this community will do all they can to help that.