RSPCA ‘funny call-outs’

As you might expect, the RSPCA do, from time to time, receive some funny call-outs. They are funny but at the same time they take away a potential callout for a genuine incident where an animal needs their assistance.

The RSPCA have released what they describe as the “funniest call-outs” that they received in 2020. They say that they receive dozens of these sorts of calls which concern objects that appear to be animals in distress when in fact they are either plush toys or something inanimate. I guess, at least, it shows a concern by the British public for animal welfare, albeit an overreaction. The RSPCA asked that people “stop, think and check before asking us for help”.

Dale Grant, an inspector with the RSPCA recounted one of the stories. He was very concerned when he received a call in May 2020 reporting that a dog was tethered to a canal boat in west London. The caller said that the dog was “squealing and crying”. As a consequence, he rushed to the location. He said:

“I was really worried that I could be walking onto a dire situation involving a dog in a really dangerous predicament but it turns out I needn’t have worried. The ‘dog’ in question turned out to be a stuffed toy tiger that had been tied onto the bow of the boat!”

The 'dog' in question turned out to be a stuffed toy tiger that had been tied onto the bow of the boat
The ‘dog’ in question turned out to be a stuffed toy tiger that had been tied onto the bow of the boat. Photo: RSPCA.

Graham Hammond, another RSPCA officer, rushed out to help a bird. The caller reported spotting a swan tangled in electric fencing after the River Stour in Dorset had burst its banks. Fields have been flooded. He said:

“I had prepared to call out the water rescue team for backup but, before they hit the road, I managed to get closer and got a good look at the ‘bird’ which turned out to be a white plastic chair floating in the water!”

Beth Boyd another RSPCA officer also recounts one of these funny call-outs. She was called out to rescue a snake in a wood in Cranham, Gloucestershire in May last year. A member of the public had reported a snake trapped inside a box. The snake wasn’t moving. When Boyd arrived, she quickly noticed that the snake was in fact a stuffed snake (a taxidermy snake) arranged as an art piece. She said:

“I did have a chuckle. I suppose art is there to cause a stir and this certainly did!” I left a note attached to the piece to explain that the snake was not real and to avoid any further callouts.”

As mentioned, an RSPCA spokesman said that they were amusing but there is a serious side. Year-on-year the RSPCA becomes more stretched. It is important that they are called out to genuine instances of animals in need of help. People should slow down and doublecheck before involving the RSPCA.

Comment: I have had my slight disappointment with the RSPCA. I remember once, while arriving at work, I noticed a duck in a car park. The duck had mistaken the tarmac for water. It had crashed into a vehicle and harmed itself. It was hiding under a hedge. I called the RSPCA but they were reluctant to come out. Disappointing I thought. I forget the outcome. They did come out to deal with a fox that had injured itself when jumping. It had broken a leg or a foot. They trapped the fox and I believe that they took it away to be euthanised.

Report: The Times. Thanks.

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