Arson arrest of boy, 15, as dogs killed in Manchester kennels fire

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Media captionThere has been an extraordinary public response to the fire, as Leah Gooding reports

A 15-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of arson after 43 dogs were killed in a large fire at Manchester Dogs' Home.

Police said the number of animals that have died is expected to rise.

Four crews were at the scene of the blaze, which broke out at about 19:00 BST in Moss Brook Road in Harpurhey.

Firefighters said the fire is now out and are asking members of the public who want to help to stay away while the other dogs are still being rescued.

Paul Duggan, from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Unfortunately about a third of the kennels have been badly affected by fire.

"Over 40 dogs have been killed or confirmed as deceased."

Image copyright Greater Manchester Fire Service
Image caption Volunteers are rescuing the dogs

"Thankfully due to the intervention of the firefighters, they've actually stopped the fire spreading, and we understand that over 150 dogs have been saved and removed from the site."

Anna Stansfield, manager of Cheshire Dogs Home, described the blaze as "soul destroying" and added all the rescued dogs would be transferred to its site in Cheshire.

"I cannot describe what we have seen tonight. It's soul destroying.

"We are so grateful to the people of Manchester and Greater Manchester who have come to support us but we need to get the roads clear so we can get the dogs out."

'Atrocious sights'

Supt Marcus Noden, of Greater Manchester Police, confirmed a "young boy" was in custody and appealed for people to contact police "if anyone was in the area and remembers seeing anything suspicious around the dogs' home".

"As a dog owner myself I understand that many people will feel angry and upset about what has happened but I would ask that they let the police carry out their investigations and not take matters into their own hands.

"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."

Following the fire the Manchester Dogs' Home released a statement saying staff and trustees "would like to express their enormous gratitude for the huge support received from the public following the devastating fire".

"All of the surviving dogs are now in transit - the majority of them going to sister site Cheshire Dogs' Home near Warrington - and those in need of veterinary treatment have been receiving it."

It said the Home had been inundated with messages of support and those wishing to make a donation could use the website. It also thanked other charities which "stepped in immediately to help".

The statement also expressed the gratitude of the trustees towards its staff "many of whom witnessed atrocious sights" as they dealt with the fire and its aftermath.

The home was established in 1893 and cares for more than 7,000 dogs every year.

It is run entirely on donations from the general public.

Update: This article has been amended after police revealed the arrested boy was aged 15, not 14 as previously reported.

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