Huge rise in calls to RSPCA – including a sighting of Bigfoot!

The RSPCA has released a list of the silliest calls it has received this summer in a bid to discourage timewasters.

The number of telephone calls to the RSPCA’s 24-hour Cruelty telephone line has risen by a whopping 65 per cent since last January, and the charity is asking the public to show patience as it prioritises the workload.

Although the number of calls to the 0300 1234 999 helpline increases each year during the summer months, this year has already seen the RSPCA facing an unprecedented demand.

The charity also stressed that calls about stubborn cats, mythical creatures and birds on a wire put unnecessary strains on services during the summer. This is at a time when the RSPCA get more calls about dogs in hot cars, animals wounded in airgun incidents or animals dumped in the holidays – all of which must be a top priority for the charity and increase during the lighter summer months.

RSPCA chief inspector Dermot Murphy says, “Summer has always seen surges in demand, but like many charities we are facing a big rise in calls at a time when our resources are under most strain.

“Much as we would like to help, we simply haven’t got the staff to personally investigate each and every issue that the public brings to us, so we must prioritise to make sure we get to the animals most in need,” he added.

Other calls received include:

·         Someone who has just seen bigfoot

·         A caller who wanted to know where to buy a bird noise CD from

·          Caller’s car had broken down and said police advised them to phone the RSPCA. We explained they probably meant RAC.

·         A woman rang us because her husband would not get out of bed and take the dog for a walk.

·         Person complaining that her cat was not responding to calls to come in the house

·         Caller wanted us to go out and teach her dog the green cross code

·         Caller said bird was sat on telegraph line

·         Person was watching a film where an animal had been attacked. The film was Call of the Wild starring Charlton Heston and was made in 1972

·          A caller who was angry because she had seen a report which said children were behaving “like animals”. She was disgusted because animals don't behave badly

We would ask all callers to please remain patient and, if asked to wait, to hang on particularly if their calls are urgent. It is worth remembering the RSPCA has less than 500 frontline staff for the whole of England and Wales who deal with these calls and investigations (equating to one for every 110,446 people), and their workload during this time increases dramatically.


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Notes to editors

To help us manage the workload we are advising callers to:

·         If you cannot wait to speak to one of our advisors, report cruelty online at the 'My RSPCA' section of the RSPCA website.

·         For general advice, visit our website, which contains essential advice in many areas of animal care – – this can be found by pressing the ‘Need some help & advice’ button at the top of each page.

·         For stray animals, please contact your local authority. They are legally required to have a dog warden to deal with stray dogs in your area.

·         For animals trapped in hot cars call 999. The RSPCA don't have any legal powers to break into cars, so would need police there anyway.

·         For injured wildlife, is safe and practical, please do take them to a vet- as they treat wildlife for free and are reimbursed.

RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS
Press office direct lines: 0300 123 0244/0288  Fax: 0303 123 0099
Duty press officer (evenings and weekends) Tel 08448 222888 and ask for pager number 828825
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