Root vegetables masquerading as rodents, and other calls to the RSPCA

The number of calls to the RSPCA’s 24-hour Cruelty telephone line has risen by over 50 per cent since 2011, and the charity is asking the public to show patience as it prioritises the workload.

The RSPCA stressed that calls about root vegetables masquerading as rodents; people calling dogs ‘rude’ names and foxes sex lives prevent people getting through with serious calls about animals in immediate danger of abuse and neglect.


Calls received in the last three months include:

?     Someone who thought they had seen a monkey in a rabbit suit and wanted the RSPCA to investigate.

?     Person upset that they had overheard someone refer to their cross-breed dog as a ‘mongrel’ – which they felt was insulting.

?     The woman who wanted someone from the RSPCA to come along to her birthday lunch as a guest.

?     Caller who wanted to know what they could expect to see and hear when watching foxes mating!


RSPCA chief inspector Dermot Murphy says, “Like many charities we are facing a big rise in calls at a time when our resources are under most strain.

“In one recent case we had a call from someone who was convinced they had a rat in their kitchen, which they thought was unwell as it hadn’t moved in some time. When we arrived our inspector soon discovered it was in fact an onion -that had rolled out of their shopping bag and onto the floor.

“Many of these calls are not made in malice, and of course much as we would like to help everyone, 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.

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. During the floods  in early 2014, the RSPCA received over 7,500 for help and rescued over 2,000 animals at risk in addition to its regular rescue and advice calls.

The RSPCA is asking all callers to please remain patient and, if asked to wait, to hang on particularly if their calls are urgent. Last year the charity received almost 1.4 million calls, which is around one calls every four seconds.

It is worth remembering the RSPCA is funded by public donations and 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 is increasing dramatically.