The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has launched another of its public awareness campaigns (see also: get a takeaway when pissed) to discourage people from ringing 999 to rescue an animal. Such calls have risen 60% in the past six years.
The image of the brave fireman up a ladder, holding a tiny kitten boldly plucked from a tree, is one that needs to be retired says the LFB. Firemen aren't trained animal handlers and are far better at dealing with emergencies involving humans and, well, fire. The RSPCA will be happy to take your calls instead. And with last month's news that London's fire service is looking at cuts of £65m over two years, they can do without unnecessary jobs.
This morning the LFB have been tweeting some of their more unusual call outs: a kitten with its head stuck in a jam jar in Lewisham (why did its owner not take it to a vet?), another kitten with its head stuck in a bongo drum in Newham, cats trapped in wendy houses and flower baskets, a hamster in a disabled lift, a squirrel in a Haringey toilet and a chimp stuck in a chimney in Tower Hamlets. We have far more questions than answers about this last one.
As for that whole cat in a tree thing, they got themselves up there and can usually get themselves down. The RSPCA says to leave it 24 hours before placing a well-intentioned phone call. As a spokesperson for the charity points out:
After all, when was the last time you saw a cat’s skeleton up a tree?