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RSPCA’S weird and wacky calls in 2007

FLYING PIGS, moorhens ‘acting strangely’ and depressed fish. It has been another busy year for the RSPCA’s national control centre (NCC) which answers more than a million calls every year - one every thirty seconds - from the public.

Whilst the majority involve reports of cruelty or requests for help and advice, some of the calls have raised a few eyebrows and chuckles along the way. Here are just a few of the more unusual requests.

‘Can you come and get a fly off a web?’

‘My fish has lost its balance. It’s depressed.’

‘Caller has seen a moorhen ‘acting strangely’.

‘I want to cancel the call - the pig has flown off.’

‘Can you send an officer to bring my litter tray in?’

‘There’s a bee on my wall and it’s too cold for it.’

‘Can you come and get a spider out of my Dyson?’

‘There is a frog in my pond that has swallowed a golf ball.’

‘I have something in my garden, it’s either a dog or a horse.’

‘There’s a bird sat on my wall. It’s my wall and I don’t want the bird there.’

• Someone rang up about a ‘radioactive squirrel’. It turned out to be an albino.

• ‘There is a rather large yellow parrot outside my home, I think it might be a balloon.’

• One caller rang to say he was dressed as a dog and his girlfriend was beating him so he wanted to log a complaint against her. RSPCA director of animal welfare and promotion, John Rolls said: ‘The Society relies on the public to be our eyes and ears by reporting cruelty. The fact that so many people call the RSPCA reaffirms that we are a nation of animal lovers who aren’t afraid to report cruelty or neglect.

‘The RSPCA would like to ask the public to make certain when calling that their concerns are valid. Whilst we realise that many calls received can turn out to be genuine mistakes, every year inspectors and animal collection officers are delayed responding to cruelty complaints because they have been sent to a hoax callout. However, if they have a genuine report of cruelty or need advice they should call 0300 1234 999.’

Some calls were deceptive. One concerned member of the public rang in about a hedgehog trapped in a basement. It turned out to be a shoe scraper. In another incident an RSPCA inspector attended a call about an injured abandoned dog in a park. On arrival it was found to be a broken umbrella.

An elderly lady rang to report a trapped animal in her loft. She could hear noises coming from above. When the animal collection officer attended the animal causing concern turned out to be a low battery in a smoke detector - a common mistake.

last year was a particularly hectic year for the RSPCA as they helped deal with, amongst other things, the summer floods. For the first time humans were added to list of rescued species.

In addition, September saw the launch of the new 0300 cruelty and advice number which enables the public to call the RSPCA’s cruelty and advice line at a reduced rate than the previous 0870 number.

It seems a sure-fire bet that 2008 will be another busy year for charity!