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Attack on pet shop


A GANG of unsupervised children nearly caused a pet shop to burn down after they pushed a firework through the shop’s letterbox last week. Around 20 animals at the All Pets store, in Elms Road, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire were evacuated by the fire brigade after a rocket was pushed through the letter box last Thursday.

It filled the shop with smoke and were it not for the quick-thinking of a neighbour, the animals, including rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, and birds would have perished.

The owner of the pet store, Angela Watson said: ‘The manageress of the Co-op next door called me to say kids were trying to do something with fireworks and the letterbox. Then she said 'Oh my God, I can see flames' and hung up. She dialled 999.

‘The shop was filled with smoke.’ Two fire and rescue crews from Stroud were on the scene within minutes and pulled all the animals to safety. There was quite a crowd and people were applauding,’ said Mrs Watson. ‘I have to say the fire brigade were excellent, I cannot speak highly enough of them.’

The animals are lodging with friends, though Charlie the Mynah bird, who is well-known to the shop's regular customers, has picked up a cough, which may be down to smoke inhalation. Mrs Watson said she is seething with those responsible. She is now battling get back to business.
‘Whether they intended to frighten the animals, I don't know,’ she said. ‘But it went wrong, really wrong.’

She thanked Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue and Amy Critchley, the manager of the Co-op next door.

Intentional

‘If she hadn't spotted what was going on, I dread to think what might have happened,’
she said.

Police are trying to track down those responsible for what appears to have been an intentional act of vandalism. ‘In the run-up to Halloween and Guy Fawkes night there are going to be more fireworks available and anyone caught misusing them will be dealt with appropriately,’ said a police spokeswoman. ‘Fireworks are dangerous - they are not toys. Anyone who sees someone misusing fireworks should report them to the police straight away.’

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service area manager Jim Onions said: ‘We are appalled by this reckless and cowardly act.

‘This was an extremely cowardly, dangerous and childish thing for anyone to do.’