Calls to the RSPCA in­clude case of mis- snaken iden­tity

Star Courier (Surrey & Hants) - - NEWS -

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.

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