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Last Updated: Wednesday September 21 2005 10:58 GMT

Cuddly toy sparks sick dog panic

A toy dog
When neighbours flooded the RSPCA with calls about an abandoned puppy in a flat, charity staff raced to the scene - only to find it was a cuddly toy.

The RSCPA received lots of calls from residents of the flats in Waterloo, London, all insisting they could see a puppy in distress.

When a locksmith got inside, they found a cuddly toy dog on the balcony.

"We are grateful the public were so concerned," an RSPCA spokeswoman said. "Luckily the toy was fit and healthy."

This is just one of many funny stories of 'false' callouts which the RSPCA has had over the last year.

Here are some more:

  • A caller said there was a black snake under his sofa. It turned out to be a TV cable.
  • A distressed woman said she could see a cat pegged on a washing line, but it was a toy cat which had been washed.
  • Someone called the RSPCA to ask when Rolf Harris was releasing a new record.
  • A woman rang to say the 'beast of Bodmin' had been asleep on her doorstep for 24 hours. It was actually a new telephone directory wrapped in black plastic.
  • An inspector went to see an injured magpie on a road, but it turned out to be a black and white trainer.
  • A member of the public reported a dead horse in a flooded field, which was actually a large plank of wood.

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said, while they were happy that so many people were concerned about animals, sometimes these 'false' calls delayed them helping a genuine animal in distress.

'Grateful'

"We get quite a lot of calls from people saying their neighbours have gone on holiday and abandoned their pets," she said. "But when we go to investigate it turns out friends and relatives are popping in all the time and they are perfectly fine.

"We are grateful for all calls though, and we don't want people to stop calling us if they think an animal is genuinely in distress."



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