Fire crews called to rescue animals

PUBLISHED: 11:00 03 June 2011

Elmsley Lane, Kewstoke, Weston-super-Mare. The rescue of Whisper the horse which became trapped in a ditch near its stables. Crews used strops and a hiab crane to lift Whisper from the ditch. Whisper was uninjured in the incident.

Elmsley Lane, Kewstoke, Weston-super-Mare. The rescue of Whisper the horse which became trapped in a ditch near its stables. Crews used strops and a hiab crane to lift Whisper from the ditch. Whisper was uninjured in the incident.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service

CATS rescued from trees, horses pulled out of ditches and birds unwound from telephone lines - district fire crews dealt with more than a 100 such incidents last year.

Avon Fire and Rescue has revealed it was called out to 132 animal-related incidents during the financial year 2009/10.

Out of those, 61 were to save domestic pets, 24 for farm animals and 25 for birds.

The service was asked to bring down 48 pets from heights, retrieve nine from underground and rescue four from water.

During the period, nine firefighters with ladders and nets were set to rescue a cat called Tinkerbell who had become stuck 60ft up a tree in Worlebury Woods.

Firefighters from Bath Fire Station were called to a two-year-old horse in about four feet of water in a ditch in Clapton Court in Clevedon.

And a fire crew spent 25 minutes bringing down a seagull which was caught up in overhead telephone wire in Birnbeck Road.

Avon Fire and Rescue could not provide details of how much the animal-related incidents cost the service each year.

The service, which has 100 employees trained in animal rescue, will spend nearly £50million this financial year.

The amount is funded by a £22.5million Government grant and a £25.5million contribution from residents’ council tax.

A spokesman told the Mercury that animal rescues were part of the service’s commitment to serving the community.

He said: “Some animals, when in distress, can be extremely volatile and could kick out or hurt anyone attempting a rescue.

“We have a team of firefighters specially trained in animal rescue techniques who are called upon to help with incidents of this nature.

“We work closely with the RSPCA to resolve incidents involving animals in the best possible way and we are regularly reviewing the way we deliver our animal rescue capability to ensure we can provide a streamlined and efficient service during these challenging financial times.”

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