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Cattery containing three cats burnt down at Holbury's All Animal Rescue UK centre

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A DEVASTATED animal rescue centre boss has revealed how thieves torched a cattery containing three animals before scrawling a “creepy” thank you message with a smiling face.

Sarah Mills said she was left unable to eat or sleep following the attack in a field used by All Animal Rescue UK in Holbury.

She said: “I am not a crier but this has hit me really hard. I just couldn’t stop the tears. It’s been very traumatic. I just don’t understand the mentality of these people.

“Theft I can understand – they stole about 20 bags of dog food and some crates. But burning the cattery down with animals in it, I just don’t. This has been traumatising from every angle.”

She was further upset by the “thank you message” and a smiley face scrawled on a board in an equipment container they had trashed. She said: “It really unnerved me. It’s creepy.”

Sarah is hoping the three cats Debbie, Charity and Chastity – two black and one black-and-white – managed to flee the flames.

She said: “We have not found any bones or bodies in the ashes, and I think I may have seen one of the cats since.

The remains of the cattery
The remains of the cattery

“We are just hoping they did escape, although they must have been terrified.”

The vandals struck in the early hours of 23rd December at around 3am. Firefighters attended the blaze which was in a field next to the A326.

But Sarah and partner Ross Cheer, who have run the centre for nearly 20 years, did not find out what had happened until she went down to feed the animals the next day.

Sarah said: “The field is a few miles away from our home and the fire brigade said they didn’t know who it belonged to. I found the trashed container first, then went round to the cattery which was just a pile of ashes.

“I burst into tears, it was just complete shock.

“We are trying to do a good thing, and this happens. If they needed animal food and crates, they should have just asked. I would help anyone.”

The field where attack took place (photo: All Animals Rescue)
The field where attack took place (photo: All Animals Rescue)

She posted an emotional video about what had happened on the All Animals Rescue UK Facebook page and is asking anyone with information to contact the police or herself and Ross on 023 8089 3188.

Ross said: “I don’t know if we were targeted specifically, or if it was just a random attack.

“The police said there are people going round targetting community projects so it might be them.

“It’s just a horrid, horrid thing to happen. We are just a small, independent not-for-profit rescue centre that helps to rescue and re-home animals of all sizes and types.”

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesperson said: “The incident is being treated as arson and we continue to investigate.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the police on 101, quoting 44210514067.

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