Oxfordshire Fire Service rescue almost 300 animals in five year period

Fire crew help rescue a horse trapped in a deep water filled ditch
Fire crew help rescue a horse trapped in a deep water filled ditch

Home Office figures show that over 100 pets have needed the assistance of the fire service after getting into difficulty.

Between April 2012 and March 2017, the service rescued 288 animals. They included 130 pets, 97 livestock and 61 wild animals, including birds.

Stanley the cat became trapped between two houses

Stanley the cat became trapped between two houses

Across England, there were over 23,000 callouts to save animals over the same five-year period, an average of more than 4,500 a year.

Although the data does not state which animals were most commonly rescued, a previous freedom of information request showed that for many fire services, cats stuck up trees remained the most common animal rescue scenario.

More bizarre callouts across the UK have included rescuing a cat from an extractor unit in a pizza shop, removing an 8ft-long boa constrictor called Billy from a gas fireplace and freeing a puppy from the mechanism of a reclining chair.

Animals being trapped was the most common reason for animal-related callouts in Oxfordshire between April 2012 and March 2017, accounting for 41 per cent of cases.

Firefighters  work to release Stanley, the trapped cat, from between two houses having to remove a few bricks in the process ENGEMN00120130425153506

Firefighters work to release Stanley, the trapped cat, from between two houses having to remove a few bricks in the process ENGEMN00120130425153506

Other reasons included animals being stuck in water or mud or rescued from a height, or calls for assistance with lifting heavy animals.

On average, more than six firefighters dealt with each animal rescue.

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said that fire services often use the incidents for training purposes.

The statement said; ”The RSPCA works very closely with the emergency services and the charity is always very grateful for any help it receives from them.

“Last year the RSPCA was called to collect or rescue 114,584 animals. In situations where RSPCA officers are unable to reach an animal that is trapped or injured, the animal charity can request the help of the fire and rescue service, though it is entirely up to them whether or not they attend.

“Some fire crews use animal rescues for training, but emergencies involving people will always take priority. In some cases, crews attend to minimise the risk of members of the public attempting to carry out rescues themselves and potentially putting themselves in danger”