June 19 2013 Latest news:
by Flora Drury
Monday, July 9, 2012
A bird trapped in a tree and a squirrel stuck in a toilet are just two of the more unusual rescues Haringey’s firefighters have been called to attend in the last two years.
The borough’s firemen have, in fact, been asked to rescue people’s pets and the local wildlife on 108 occasions since 2006 - including a cat trapped under floor boards in April, a kitten stuck on a roof in September last year and a fox stuck between a wall and a garage in January 2011.
The London Fire Brigade, which was called out to rescue 620 animals across the capital last year as opposed to just 389 in 2006, is now so concerned is it about the rise these incidents it has joined forces with the RSPCA for its first ever animal rescue campaign: I’m An Animal, Get Me Out of Here.
It hopes the campaign will remind people to think carefully before dialling 999 when they see an animal in difficulty.
Spencer Alden-Smith, borough commander for Haringey, said: “We want to dispel the old stereotype about firefighters rescuing cats from trees, our crews are highly trained emergency service personnel. If there is a cat up a tree, or an animal stuck anywhere, the first port of call should always be the RSPCA, not the emergency services.
“We’re asking pet owners to keep a close eye on their animals in a bid to avoid some of these situations from happening. What’s worrying is that when firefighters are out rescuing animals, they’re then not available to attend real emergencies.
“Each animal rescue costs money and in these tough financial times, I can’t imagine many people would want their taxes being spent on some of the animal rescues we’ve highlighted today.
“That said, we don’t want people putting themselves at risk to save an animal and will always attend if there’s a genuine emergency.”