South Yorkshire firefighters rescue 233 animals

Firefighters rescuing a horse in Barnsley
Firefighters rescuing a horse in Barnsley
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A snake, bull, bat, goose and hawk are among 233 animals rescued by South Yorkshire firefighters over three years.

The figure was released by fire chiefs to demonstrate the variety of incidents firefighters deal with.

It forms part of the 1,400 ‘special service’ incidents attended by the fire service every year, including road traffic collisions, floods and lift rescues.

Firefighter records show that a snake was rescued after becoming trapped in a wall, a bull was helped after becoming stranded in a dyke and a kitten was freed from a sewerage pipe.

Some 70 dogs, 44 horses and 32 cats have been rescued over the years.

Fire chiefs say animal rescues are an established part of the service’s work and valued by the communities they serve, preventing members of the public from 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.

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.

“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’re 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.”

For more information about animal welfare, including what to do if a wild animal is found in distress, visit www.rscpa.org.uk