South Yorkshire: Snake, bat and goose among 200 animals rescued by firefighters

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A snake trapped in a wall, a bull stuck in a dyke and a kitten stranded in a sewerage pipe - these are just some of more than 200 animal rescues attended by South Yorkshire firefighters in the last three years.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has attended 233 animal rescues since 2011 - another example of the vast range of incidents its fire crews are called to respond to.

The figure include 70 rescued dogs, 44 horses, 32 cats - plus unusual animals including a bat, goose and several hawks.

Fire officers say animal rescues are an established part of the service’s work that is valued by the communities they serve.

Head of emergency response, Steve Helps, said: “Animal rescues are often amongst the most unusual incidents our firefighters attend, but there is no doubt that work like this is greatly valued by local people.”

Rescues performed by firefighters with specialist training and equipment also stop the public getting into danger by attempting rescues themselves.

But officers also question which other agency could step in to help if fire service resources were not available and have called on the public to think carefully before calling 999 the moment they see an animal in distress.

Steve added: “Our concern is that people sometimes see an animal in distress and automatically dial 999, when there are other agencies, including charities like the RSPCA and more local groups, who might be better placed to help instead.”

“We are also highlighting the number of animal rescues we attend because, at a time of severe cuts to our Government funding, we question which other agency could step in to tackle these kinds of incident.”

Animal rescues fall under the 1,400 ‘special service’ incidents South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue attends each year, including freeing people from road traffic collisions, water rescues, flooding and lift releases. That’s on top of the thousands of house, property and smaller fires it also attends each year.

For more information visit www.rscpa.org.uk.