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Firefighters praised after responding to over 2,200 animal emergencies

A Freedom of Information request by the Scottish Liberal Democrats revealed a list of incidents firefighters have responded to since 2013.

The SFRS has been praised for its work in rescuing animals (Nick Ansell/PA)
The SFRS has been praised for its work in rescuing animals (Nick Ansell/PA)

Scotland’s fire service has been praised for responding to over 2,200 animal-related emergencies over a six-year period.

It includes domestic animals being rescued from locations including a nightclub in Leith and a football stadium in Cowdenbeath.

They even helped a rhino who got stuck in a tyre at Edinburgh Zoo.

A Freedom of Information request by the Liberal Democrats showed that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) helped at 2,276 incidents between 2013 and 2018.

The figures include 90 occasions when SFRS had to rescue animals from a vehicle, while there were 144 callouts related to animal harm.

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Firefighters had to rescue a rhino at Edinburgh Zoo after it became stuck in a tyre (Danny Lawson/PA)

Livestock animals, such as poultry, sheep and pigs, were rescued from a range of locations including passenger trains, allotments and wheelie bins.

Firefighters also helped at incidents involving wild animals being removed from locations including supermarkets, public toilets, churches and even a takeaway.

In 2018, Firefighters were called out to Edinburgh Zoo on two separate occasions, one time removing a tyre from a rhino.

Scottish Liberal Democrat animal welfare spokeswoman Jenny Marr praised the work of the SFRS, whilst backing proposals to impose stronger penalties for animal cruelty offences.

“These statistics show the Fire and Rescue Service undertakes a huge amount of unseen work rescuing thousands of trapped or mistreated animals, as just one small strand of their innumerable responsibilities,” said Ms Marr.

“It’s alarming to discover that the fire and rescue service is responding to so many counts of animal harm.

“Any abuse of vulnerable wild animals, pets or livestock is intolerable and should be met by the full force of the law.

“This is also further evidence of the need to increase the maximum penalty for the most serious animal cruelty offences from 12 months to five years in prison.”

An SFRS spokesman said: “Statutory responsibility for animal rescue lies with the Scottish SPCA.

“However, the SFRS will always attend where there is a risk that a member of the public might put themselves in danger by attempting to effect their own rescue.

“The SFRS is also a humanitarian service and would always seek to assist an animal in distress, which can be a source of upset to members of the public.”

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