A JustGiving page set up by the Manchester Evening News newspaper after a fire at the Manchester Dogs' Home has raised more than half a million pounds in little more than 12 hours, breaking records for the online fundraising platform, according to the home.
A fire broke out last night at about 7.15pm at the dogs home in the Harpurhey area of the city, one of the two sites run by the charity the Manchester and Cheshire Dogs’ Home.
It resulted in the death of at least 50 dogs. Another 150 were saved and most of these are being taken to the Cheshire Dogs Home, its sister operation in Warrington. Reporters from the Manchester Evening News said on Twitter that the fire was extinguished by 8.40pm.
A JustGiving page set up by the paper later last night had an initial target of £5,000. By noon today, more than 50,000 donors had given £550,000 and the total was rising rapidly.
A spokeswoman for the charity said she had been told by JustGiving that the appeal had broken records for fundraising via the website, but was unable to confirm details.
The charity was registered with the Charity Commission in 1990. In 2012 it had 57 staff and an income of £1.8m, up from £1.4m the year before, its accounts show.
A statement from the charity said: "The staff and trustees of Manchester Dogs’ Home would like to express their enormous gratitude for the huge support received from the public following the devastating fire on site during the night."
The statement said the charity was grateful to other unnamed charities that had offered their support, and to members of the public. However, it advised the public to stay away from the home. "Members of the public are urged not to come to Manchester Dogs’ Home, as the police investigation will be continuing and access is restricted," it said. The charity has also asked people not to try to contact it by phone.
"In the coming days, the Dogs’ Home will be letting members of the public know how they can help both practically and financially," the statement said.
Local councillor Pat Karney told Manchester Evening News reporters at the scene: "We now have an opportunity to build a 21st century dogs home. We ask the public to continue to donate."
The Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is investigating the fire, according to a statement on the Greater Manchester Police website.
A 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of arson and "will be spoken to throughout the course of the day", the statement said. The police said that people should bring supplies to the north Manchester police headquarters rather than going to the home.