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Staff tell of pain as 50 dogs killed in fire 'attack'

By Kim Pilling

Staff at a dogs home where 50 animals died in a suspected arson attack have branded the incident "sickening and harrowing".

But Lisa Graham, from the Manchester Dogs Home, in the Harpurhey area of the city, praised the local population for attempting to rescue the dogs and for their support in the aftermath.

She told how members of the public had tried to get into the centre after the alarm was raised, and how one man brought his camper van and began making tea and coffee for fire crews.

Lisa said: "We saw the community out in droves. We saw them coming out with things you wouldn't even expect.

"To think that (someone) would come and do this to us is sickening. We had staff here that were coming out of the kennels in tears with dogs they knew."

After a website set up by a local newspaper with the aim of raising £5,000 hit the £750,000 mark, the dogs' home said it had been "overwhelmed" with support.

A spokesman added: "Words are not enough. Thank you everyone – you have touched our hearts and surrounded us with love and we are truly grateful."

The drive was given a boost early on when comedian Ricky Gervais retweeted the appeal to his six million Twitter followers.

Police are continuing to question a 15-year-old boy arrested on suspicion of arson.

Dogs rescued from the fire have been taken to the centre's sister site near Warrington, in Cheshire.

Manchester & Cheshire Dogs Home opened in 1893 and has re-housed more than one million dogs. The registered charity is said to care for more than 7,000 stray and unwanted dogs each year. It rehomes 95% of them.

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