Chimp stuck up a chimney? Do not call the fire brigade

A Chimpanzee
Image caption Firefighters had to rescue a chimp stuck in a chimney

Firefighters should not be called out to rescue animals, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) has said.

Fire crews in the capital had to help 620 animals last year, a 60% increase over six years.

The LFB has said if an animal is stuck somewhere the public should always call the RSPCA first.

It said unusual rescues include a chimp in a chimney, a parrot trapped in its cage, an iguana stuck on a roof and a hamster trapped in a disabled lift.

Fire crews have also captured a snake at a retirement home and rescued a kitten with its head stuck in a bongo drum.

'Old stereotype'

The brigade said it has had to deal with more calls in the first half of this year than the same period in 2011.

London fire commissioner Ron Dobson said: "It is time to dispel the old stereotype about firefighters rescuing cats from trees: our crews are highly trained emergency service personnel.

"What's worrying is that when firefighters are out rescuing animals, they're not available to attend real emergencies.

"Each animal rescue costs money and, in these tough financial times, many people question why their taxes are being spent on some of the animal rescues we've highlighted today."

Klare Kennett, of the RSPCA, said the animal welfare charity advised people to call them first and if they needed help they would call out the brigade.

She said: "If you see a cat up a tree, we'd advise you to leave it for 24 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?"

In the past five years London Fire Brigade has been called to deal with:

  • An iguana on a roof in Tower Hamlets
  • A parrot trapped in its cage in Waltham Forest
  • A dog stuck in a wheelchair in a flat in Richmond
  • A puppy with its head stuck in an exercise machine in Hillingdon
  • A kitten with its head stuck in a bongo drum in Newham
  • An escaped snake at a retirement home in Hounslow
  • Two dogs in a toilet in Bromley
  • A chimp in a chimney in Tower Hamlets
  • A hamster trapped in a disabled lift in Greenwich
  • A kitten trapped in a reclining chair in Croydon

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