Calls to the RSPCA include case of mis- snaken identity
THE RSPCA is appealing for people to think before they call after officers were dispatched to reports of a snake on the loose at a Surrey home – which turned out to be a cuddly toy.
With more than a million calls every year, averaging one every 27 seconds, the RSPCA responds to a huge number of serious incidents.
Yet, the charity revealed last week some of the more unusual calls in Surrey to highlight the importance of ensuring calls are genuine.
Animal welfare officer Carl Hone was called out in December to catch a stray snake found reportedly in the loft of a Surrey home.
“The caller was so nervous of snakes, they had rushed back down the ladder and shut the hatch door,” said the RSPCA. “When [ Carl] arrived with specialist equipment to deal with the exotic animal, he crept up into the loft only to discover that the snake was in fact, a child’s toy.”
Reports of an owl stuck motionless on a roof for days on end, turned out to be a plastic model. A woman reported a trapped bird making a regular ‘ peeping noise’ in her attic. This turned out to be a smoke alarm flat battery warning.
Dermot Murphy, assistant director of the RSPCA inspectorate, said: “We do get some bizarre calls.
“On a more serious note, it’s important to remember we are facing a huge rise in calls just at a time when our resources are under the most strain.
“We know people mean well and most of these calls are not made in malice, and although we would like to be able to help everyone, we simply haven’t got the staff to personally investigate each and every issue the public brings to us.
“We must prioritise to make sure we get to the animals most in need.”
The RSPCA’s cruelty line received 1,153,744 calls last year, a 3% increase on 2015.