Battersea callout highlights RSPCA advice
Firefighters are asking the public to call the RSPCA instead of 999, after they were called out to rescue a trapped cat.
They were called to save the pregnant moggy after it became stuck under floorboards just before 12pm on Tuesday in Grayshott Road, Battersea.
Five firefighters initially attended the incident, but called the RSPCA for assistance and handed it over to them.
The call-out coincides with a new campaign the London Fire Brigade are running, encouraging people to call RSPCA instead of 999 for animal rescues.
Crews have been called to 102 animal rescue incidents since 2006 in Wandsworth, which could have been dealt with by the RSPCA.
Firefighters were also called in March this year to rescue a cat stuck in a fence and another in a tree.
Last year they helped cats from window ledges, stuck behind wardrobes and in fences, while in 2010 they were called to rescue a dog with it's head in a catflap.
Nigel Miles, borough fire commander for Wandsworth, said: "We want to dispel the old stereotype about firefighters rescuing cats from trees, our crews are highly trained emergency service personnel.
"If there is a cat up a tree, or an animal stuck anywhere, the first port of call should always be the RSPCA, not the emergency services.
"We’re asking pet owners to keep a close eye on their animals in a bid to avoid some of these situations from happening.
"What’s worrying is that when firefighters are out rescuing animals, they’re then not available to attend real emergencies."
But he said people should call the emergency services if there is a genuine emergency and lives are being put at risk.
Klare Kennett, spokesperson for the RSPCA, said: "We’d always advise people to call us in the first instance and if we need help we will call the fire brigade.
"If you see a cat up a tree, we’d advise you leave it for twenty four hours before calling the RSPCA as they usually manage to get themselves down.
"After all, when was the last time you saw a cat’s skeleton up a tree?"
Contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999