Every 30 seconds*, a member of the public calls the RSPCA for advice on animal welfare or to report an incident of cruelty or neglect.
Whilst the majority of these calls are serious, occasionally they range from the weird to the wonderful. Here in no particular order, are our top ten funny phone calls received over the last 12 months.
• A lady called our emergency phone line to find out which bus she needed to catch to visit Putney animal hospital.
• Someone called us to report that a cat was stuck on a roof. However, it turned out to be a satellite dish.
• Someone asked our call centre staff to speak to her husband as he was refusing to get out of bed and walk the dog.
• A very unhappy woman called to say that a cat had been abandoned in her garden. She called back later that day in a better mood to say that the cat turned out to be a surprise present from her husband.
• A lady called up one evening to ask if we could open up one of our branches as she had left her hearing aid there.
• A caller asked if she could borrow a cat from one of our centres. She didn’t actually want a cat but she had a problem with mice in her house.
• A woman called to tell us that there was something in her bathroom but that she was not sure if it was a hamster or a spider.
• An RSPCA inspector went out to an incident following reports that a cat had been found under a bush. However, the ‘cat’ turned out to be a jumper with a reindeer on it.
• We were asked to help solve a neighbourly dispute as someone wanted to stop nearby residents talking to the postman was it was causing her dog to bark.
• A displeased shopper called us to find out how she could make sure she only bought milk from happy cows.
Although we may laugh at these stories, we need to remind people that the 24-hour advice and cruelty line, 0300 1234 999, is for reporting serious cases or emergencies concerning animal welfare. The cruelty and advice line operates in a similar way to the 999 emergency services number and non-urgent calls could prevent us from dealing with a serious crisis. Most of our calls are for rescues or develop into legal investigations.
We do have a non-urgent enquiries line, 0300 1234 555, and there’s also lots of information on our website, www.rspca.org.uk
*The RSPCA took 1.3 million calls from members of the public in 2009.