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Animals do the funniest things: RSPCA looks back at top rescues in Wales

What a hoot! A-moo-sing animal rescues brings smiles to rescuers’ faces

Animals do the funniest things; and RSPCA rescuers see that first-hand!

In 2022, the charity’s officers were called to thousands of incidents, including many in which birds, wildlife, pets and farm animals have found themselves in a sticky situation.

Dermot Murphy, RSPCA Inspectorate Commissioner from the animal charity’s frontline rescuers, said: “With our teams out rescuing animals from danger and suffering 365 days a year, we are often their only hope. It’s an honour to be able to lend a hand to animals in desperate need and we hope people enjoy seeing some of the weird and wonderful places animals have found themselves in need of our help.

“This winter we’re asking people to show their support by joining the rescue to help us raise funds to make sure we can continue to be there for animals in need.”

Here we round-up our top rescues of the year in Wales:

1. Ewe have got to be kidding!

A heroic RSPCA rescuer abseiled 30m down a cliff in Conwy to rescue a sheep with just one hand from a narrow ledge just inches wide. Dean Wilkins managed to grab hold of her until his colleague Mike Pugh could help with the rescue from Great Orme on 21 January. The ewe got stuck after being chased over the headland by a dog. Dean said: “Given the narrow ledge the ewe was on, we approached extremely cautiously so as not to spook her, but seconds after I had got hold of her she jumped and I suddenly found myself clinging onto her wooly coat with one hand!” The duo managed to pull her to safety where her owner was able to check her over and reunite her with the rest of her flock. (Video available)

2. Me-ouch!

A cat used one of his nine lives after getting trapped in a gate by his back leg! The elderly puss was found on 26 July in the garden gate in Wrexham with his leg stuck between the hinge and the gate. Rescuer Melanie Froude was able to safely wriggle his leg out and took him to a vet for a check-up. “Luckily, his leg wasn’t broken but he was quite skinny and his leg was swollen,” she said. The 15-year-old – nicknamed Freddie – was taken in by the charity who set about trying to trace his owner.

3. Sheep’s baaaaaa-d day out!

A sheep was rescued by brave RSPCA officers after being stuck on Conwy Mountain for four days! The alarm was raised on 20 September and Inspectors Andrew Broadbent and Mark Roberts went to find her. They made sheep noises to locate the missing ewe and used pruning saws to clear a path through the vegetation to reach her after she fell from a ledge and tumbled approximately 65ft landing in a thicket of brambles which became tangled in her fleece. Andrew said: “It was a hot and challenging climb and it took us about an hour to push and cut our way through the brambles, bracken and gorse – by which time we had a fair few splinters and scratches. We still couldn’t see her as the undergrowth was so dense and tall, so we tried to locate her by making bleating noises – and to our relief she replied. We kept ‘talking’ to her, getting closer and closer all the time and eventually found her sheltering on a little ridge surrounded by thick brambles. After cutting her free and checking for injuries we then followed the path we had just come down, both of us part carrying, part pushing her back up the mountain so she could rejoin her flock.”

4. Ram rescue

A ram was rescued after becoming stranded on a ledge near the bottom of a quarry near Llangollen, Denbighshire. Footage shows the specially trained RSPCA rope rescue team abseil 30m down the disused Moel Y Faen Quarry on 4 October. Inspectors Mark Roberts, Vicki Taylor, Andy Broadbent, Jenny Anderton, Rachael Davies and animal rescue officer Ashley Moore caught the ram and lowered him safely to the ground below. Mark, who led the team, said: “Myself and Andy abseiled down to the ledge – assisted by the other team members above – and we were able to catch the ram by abseiling just beneath him to safely grab him. He was then placed in a bag and lowered carefully to the bottom.” He wasn’t injured so was released where he started to graze again. (Video available).

The animal welfare charity is asking people to show their support for animals in need by joining the rescue this winter. For more information, see the RSPCA website