Raw an­i­mal ap­peal of real- life dra­mas

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - Karen Dearne

ON the face of it, RSPCA An­i­mal Res­cue is not about much at all: a lost dog, an in­jured cat, a horse left alone in an empty pad­dock.

Yet some­how this in­sider’s view of RSPCA in­spec­tors go­ing about their daily work has grabbed a whole lot of fans, mak­ing it one of Seven’s most­watched shows last year.

Per­haps it’s be­cause we’re a na­tion of pet lovers. Or per­haps it’s be­cause An­i­mal Res­cue is real- life drama. It’s re­al­ity television we can re­late to, calmly nar­rated by An­thony Field, the blue Wig­gle.

In this week’s episode, a black cat with a smart blue col­lar gets stuck up a tree — it just hap­pens to be the tallest tree in East Melbourne — and the en­tire neigh­bour­hood turns out to watch.

The cat has kept res­i­dents awake for nights on end with her yowl­ing be­fore in­spec­tor Ma­ree Crab­tree gets the call, but this res­cue is not go­ing to be easy.

Even the emer­gency ser­vices boys say their lad­der isn’t long enough.

Mean­while, in Syd­ney, in­spec­tor Matt French is deal­ing with a new mum and six pups who have proved too much for their owner to han­dle. Skye, a kelpie- rot­tweiler cross, is kept in cramped and dirty con­di­tions.

For­tu­nately, Skye’s owner is will­ing to re­lin­quish the dogs, which are taken into care for treat­ment and as­sess­ment be­fore adop­tion. Sadly, the end­ing is not en­tirely happy.

In Bris­bane, in­spec­tor Katie Heaton is wor­ried about three goats liv­ing among a dan­ger­ous tan­gle of bro­ken bricks, metal off- cuts and wire in an in­dus­trial waste­land. The owner says the goats are there to keep the grass down and prom­ises to clear the site, but when Heaton re­turns noth­ing has changed.

This time, she’s pre­pared to get tough with a com­pli­ance or­der, but the owner re­fuses to sur­ren­der the an­i­mals, say­ing he’d rather shoot them. Heaton is dis­tressed when she finds the goats gone, but there’s lit­tle more she can do. It’s part of the job, she says.

Back in Melbourne, Crab­tree is in a cherry- picker, chas­ing the cat as it climbs ever higher in the tree. There’s plenty more drama be­fore Inky, iden­ti­fied by her mi­crochip, is fi­nally re­united with her de­lighted owner.

And there’s a sur­prise end­ing in Bris­bane when, months later, Heaton gets an­other call about goats. But this time they are tied up in a pad­dock.

Watch out for Peter, the hum­ble goat res­cuer. He’s one of the ev­ery­day he­roes who make An­i­mal Res­cue such com­pelling view­ing.

Wig­gle room: An­thony Field and friend in RSPCA An­i­mal Res­cue

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