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Fire brigade warning after call for kitten with head stuck in a jam jar
A KITTEN with its head stuck in a jam jar and a squirrel trapped on a roof are some of the timewasting calls Lewisham firefighters have received in recent years.
The examples of animal incidents fire crews have been called to were released to remind people the Fire Brigade should only be contacted in genuine emergencies.
Over the past six years, the number of animals rescued by fire crews has jumped 60 per cent across the capital, with 620 incidents alone last year.
And firefighters have already been called to more animal rescue incidents in the first half of this year than for the same period in 2011. Just over half of the incidents involve cats and around a quarter involve dogs.
In Lewisham, firefighters have been called to 122 animal rescue incidents since 2006.
They include a dog stuck on a ledge, a cat trapped in a wall and a pigeon inside a chimney.
Lee King the Brigade’s Borough Commander for Lewisham, said: "We want to dispel the old stereotype about firefighters rescuing cats from trees, our crews are highly trained emergency service personnel.
"If there is a cat up a tree, or an animal stuck anywhere, the first port of call should always be the RSPCA, not the emergency services.
"We’re asking pet owners to keep a close eye on their animals in a bid to avoid some of these situations from happening. What’s worrying is that when firefighters are out rescuing animals, they’re then not available to attend real emergencies.
"Each animal rescue costs money and in these tough financial times, I can’t imagine many people would want their taxes being spent on some of the animal rescues we’ve highlighted today."