The RSPCA was called out to urgently rescue a tortoise in Sheffield - that turned out to be made out of stone.
The animal welfare charity was contacted on Monday (24 October) by a woman who spotted the tortoise in the garden in Woodseats Road.
She asked neighbours if anyone owned the reptile but, after being unable to find an owner, called the RSPCA.
Animal welfare officer (AWO) Liz Braidley went along to collect the reptile but soon found all wasn’t as it seemed…
“I went into the lady’s garden to try to capture the tortoise and it soon became clear that he wouldn’t be giving me the run-around - as he was made out of stone!” she said.
“It did make me laugh. I was having a bad day so it really cheered me up!
“The welfare of animals is at the heart of everything we do at the RSPCA so we wouldn’t want to deter anyone who is worried about an animal from getting in touch with us.
“So if you are concerned for an animal, please contact our 24-hour emergency line by calling 0300 1234 999 where staff can help with advice, information, or reporting incidents to one of our inspectors.”
The RSPCA receives around 1.2m calls a year from members of the public concerned for the welfare and safety of animals of all shapes and sizes. The charity is under a lot of pressure so would ask that people think carefully about whether it is the best agency to contact before getting in touch. While many of these calls are not made in malice, they could stop an emergency call getting through to our inspectors.
Last month, an animal collection officer working for the charity was called to help a bird tangled in an aerial. However, when the officer arrived at the address in Enfield, London, he discovered the ‘bird’ was in fact a kite attached to the aerial - to deter wild birds.
And in early September RSPCA animal collection officer Lauren Bradshaw rushed to the A54 in Winsford, Cheshire, after reports of a baby crocodile at the side of the road. Despite the snappy response, there was little she could do for the reptile which turned out to be a realistic-looking plastic toy!
The RSPCA is a charity and we rely on public donations to exist. To assist our inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).