An animal lover will live in a kennel for more than a month to highlight the plight of abandoned dogs. Sean Le Vegan, 35, will get just one hour of freedom a day to use the bathroom and freshen up after he is “rounded up” by a warden. He will not eat for the first four days – just like real dogs when placed in a strange environment. And he has even had a microchip implanted in his shoulder to make the experience more authentic.
Sean, a web designer, is to live in the cage for 35 days and nights, which is the average stay for a dog at Manchester and Cheshire Dogs’ Home, where he is a volunteer. He said: “People thought I was crazy when I came up with the idea. It’s going to be really tough. The toilet will obviously be an issue so I’ve cut caffeine, salt and sugar out of my diet to sustain my water levels. I’ll eat nothing and only drink for the first few days.” Like the dogs, he will drink only water and have a blanket for comfort.
Health experts will make sure Sean’s living conditions are safe. His challenge will be beamed live from webcams and there is a subscription fee of £5 to watch his progress. The charity was founded in 1893 by a group of Manchester businessmen who were concerned about the number of strays roaming the city. It takes in and cares for more than 7,000 dogs per year at two sites – one in Manchester and one in Cheshire. An average 15 dogs a day are brought in by wardens and the public and it often has more than 250 dogs waiting for a home.
Dogs from the street are checked on arrival to make sure they are up to date with jabs. Sadly, only a third are reclaimed or reunited with their owners and the rest are assessed for re-homing after seven days. Sean says: “It is a fantastic charity and has been doing this work for more than 100 years. It is in need of cash to refurbish kennels and make it more secure from vandals and thieves. Every penny will go to them.” Sean’s life as a stray dog will begin on October 5. He is hoping local celebrities, dog trainers and groomers will pop in to raise his spirits during the daunting challenge.