A dog, it is said, is man’s best friend, and this friend has pulled out all stops to help a dog shelter in Cheshire in northwest England that went up in flames in a fire started by a teenager on Thursday: the outpouring of love has generated over £1.3 million in donation and led to traffic jams.
The fire at the Cheshire Dogs Home in north-west England killed about 60 dogs, while 150 were rescued. The teenager was arrested and later bailed by the police, but the charity organisation has since been overwhelmed by the help extended by dog lovers.
The M6 motorway was gridlocked as hundreds of people travelled to the site, seeking to foster surviving dogs and donate animal supplies. Fifty-one dogs had been fostered at last count, while help continued to pour in from various parts of the country.
The target for an online fund-raising campaign to help re-build the shelter was £1 million. As of Sunday morning, the amount raised was £1,352,919.46. The amount was increasing every minute.
The Home said on Saturday: “At the moment the response has been so great Cheshire Dogs’ Home is gridlocked so till further notice please be patient and stay away from our Cheshire Home, we have been informed by the Police that the M6 and M60 are congested with wellwishers trying to reach us, we would be very grateful if you could postpone your visit till next week-end”.
Sarah Heath of the Cheshire Police said: "The offers of help and support to the Cheshire Dogs' Home has literally been overwhelming. However, the sheer volume of people coming to the home has caused significant traffic congestion tailing back to the motorway”.
She added: "Officers are working hard to get traffic flowing, but the clear advice is - if you want to help, please check online to find a drop off point near to you."
Sue Jones, a helper at Cheshire Dogs' Home, said the phones had "not stopped ringing" at the centre: "I'm astounded by the reaction of the public and the support provided by community volunteers today."
The Home said in a statement: "The staff and trustees would like to express their enormous gratitude for the huge support received from the public following the devastating fire on site Thursday night. All of the surviving dogs are now being cared for”.