The owner of a Fylde animal sanctuary where 25 animals perished during an arson attack today branded a similar suspected crime at Manchester Dogs’ Home as “sick and evil”.
Mandy Leigh, owner of the Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary, has spoken of her sympathy for workers at the Manchester site where at least 60 animals died in a devastating blaze on Thursday night.
Kind-hearted people had already donated almost a million pounds to Manchester Dogs’ Home within 24 hours of the fire.
Ms Leigh said: “I don’t understand how people could do this. It’s terrible.
“The staff there and everyone connected with the dogs’ home have my sympathy because it’s a sick feeling you carry around for the rest of your life.
“After this it will be very hard for them to get motivated and carry on. I haven’t got over the fire at Easterleigh and I know my staff haven’t.
“The Manchester Dog’s Home staff will be the same. It’s not just a terrible incident that happens on one day, the repercussions will be felt for a long time.
“The people who do this job are devoted, caring people. The worst thing is that acts like this causes you to feel hatred and neither me or my staff are that kind of person.
“It’s a terrible legacy. I know how they are feeling.”
Easterleigh suffered tens of thousands of pounds of damage after arsonists set fire to an isolation unit at the site in March 2011 .
Part of the site was rebuilt thanks to donations from local businesses and animal campaigners who organised fund-raising events.
Karl Heaton, 23, of Smithy Lane, Ansdell, and Jordan Morgan, 19, of no fixed address, each admitted to four counts of arson and one of attempted arson after they set fire to Easterleigh, Fylde Scout HQ, a local garage and a van.
The pair were ordered to serve a minimum of three years before being allowed to apply for parole.
Mandy added: “It’s brilliant that people have donated so much money (following the Manchester blaze) but it will never replace the animals that have been lost.
“It’s a sick and evil thing to do. There are no words for it.
“A fire is bad enough but when people do it deliberately, as is alleged, they shouldn’t be allowed out in my opinion.
“The dogs that survived our fire continued to suffer.
“One was injured trying to dig out of his kennel and another got distressed at the sound of sirens.”
n A 15-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of arson in connection with the fire at Manchester Dogs’ Home situated in the Harpurhey district of the city.