London Fire Brigade's 'I’m An Animal, Get Me Out of Here' campaign has halved the number of animal rescues made in the capital over the past year.
The capital’s fire crews were called out to 282 animal rescues in 2011/12 - the lowest number since the Brigade started collecting the data in 1999. This meant there were 650 animal rescues last year or that an animal was saved every 13 hours.
The 'I'm An Animal...' campaign launched in July 2012 highlighted the most unusual animal rescue incidents its crews had ever attended, in a bid to reduce non-emergency call outs.
The list included:
• A kitten with its head stuck in a bongo drum in Newham
• A chimp in a chimney in Tower Hamlets
• An adult hamster trapped in a disabled lift in Greenwich
• A kitten trapped in a reclining chair in Croydon
• A puppy in a precarious position in Hackney
• A pigeon trapped in TV aerial in Richmond
• A baby seagull stuck on scaffolding in Sutton
Cats up trees cost firefighter's time
Each rescue costs the Brigade at least £290 and the Brigade said the drop in incidents has saved taxpayers over £100,000.
London Fire Brigade Group Manager Mark Hazelton said: "It’s excellent news that the number of animal rescues has fallen and that people have clearly taken heed of our advice. Who knows, perhaps firefighters rescuing cats from trees may soon be a thing of the past.
"I’d still like to remind people that if they see an animal stuck somewhere, the first port of call should always be the RSPCA, not the emergency services. When firefighters are out rescuing animals, they’re not available to attend real emergencies.
"As well as being time consuming, animal rescues cost the tax payer and I’m sure most people would prefer their money was being spent on training or fire prevention work, than cats up trees. However, the Brigade will always continue to attend when called out to real emergencies."