While RSPCA officers have to deal with a lot of distressing and shocking cases, they are also called out to some rather strange situations. And, often, many turn out to be a mistake.
So to cheer you up this Blue Monday, here are some of the funniest call-outs they had in 2021.
The RSPCA receives a call for help every 30 seconds and, in 2021, inspectors responded to more than 280,000 incidents. Our staff would ask the public to monitor any sick, injured or trapped animals from a safe distance and to report concerns to our emergency hotline - open 365 days a year - on 0300 1234 999.
A spokesperson said: “No day is ever the same at the RSPCA and we get called to the weird and wonderful as well as the sad. One thing you learn very quickly in this job is to expect the unexpected!
“While these calls certainly gave us a chuckle there is also an important message here: we’re stretched more and more each year and, while we appreciate that all of these callers were trying to do their best and help what they believed to be an animal in need, we’d urge the public to stop, think and check before asking us for help.
“We’d hate to send an officer out to rescue a distressed dog that turned out to be a stuffed toy or an abandoned snake that was in fact a plastic toy and miss out on rescuing a real animal in need.”
This winter, the RSPCA will be busy helping animals in need. To support our teams and keep our rescuers on the road responding to emergencies please Join the Rescue and donate at www.rspca.org.uk/rescuexmas.
1. That’s hiss-terical!
A member of the public called in the RSPCA and emergency services after spotting a snake on their roof in Pontefract. He said he couldn’t sleep as he was worried it might be dangerous and the responding police officer was concerned so advised calling in the charity. Animal rescue officer Ollie Wilkes attended the scene. He said: “It was difficult to see in the dark so the fire and rescue service used a long hook to pull the snake down and we very quickly realised there was nothing for anyone to worry about; because it was a headless rubber toy! I suspect a bird of prey had swooped down and picked it up before dropping it on the roof when it realised it wasn’t a tasty treat!”
2. Get stuffed!
Inspector Dale Grant was concerned when he received a call reporting a dog squealing and crying, tethered tightly to a canal boat. Dale rushed to the canal only to find his expertise wouldn’t be required. “I was really worried that I could be walking into a dire situation involving a dog in a really dangerous predicament but it turns out I needn’t have worried,” Dale said. “The ‘dog’ in question turned out to be a stuffed toy tiger that had been tied onto the bow of the boat!”
3. What the duck!?
With freezing conditions and snowfall across most of the north of England, RSPCA animal rescue officer Shane Lynn was very concerned when he had a call come in on January 7 from a woman reporting a duck stuck in the ice. He said: “The caller claimed the bird had been stuck in the frozen pond for two days and hadn’t been able to move.” Shane braved the icy conditions to help the stricken bird. But all was not as it seemed... “As soon as I arrived and located the pond I realised my help wouldn’t be required as the duck was in fact a plastic ornament!”
4. ‘Chair’s something in the water!’
A passing motorist contacted the RSPCA for help after spotting a swan in peril on the river. RSPCA officer Graham Hammond rushed out to help the bird said to be tangled in electric fencing on the water after the river burst its banks and flooded into neighbouring fields. He said: “I went out to check on the bird and had prepared to call out the water rescue team for back-up but, before they hit the road, I managed to get closer and get a good look at the ‘bird’ - which turned out to be a white plastic chair floating in the water!”