‘There’s an onion in my kitchen’: The five most ridiculous calls to the RSPCA revealed

Animal protection charity says it receives one call every four seconds – some more serious than others

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The Independent Online

From root vegetable red alerts to birthday party invitations, the RSPCA has released a list of the five most bizarre and pointless “urgent” phone calls it has received so far in 2014.

The animal protection charity said the number of calls to its emergency 24-hour Cruelty telephone line had increased by 50 per cent since 2011, making the job of identifying the most important and time-sensitive cases vitally important.

It’s fair to say that some calls are easier to dismiss than others.

RSPCA chief inspector Dermot Murphy said: “Like many charities we are facing a big rise in calls at a time when our resources are under most strain.

“In one recent case we had a call from someone who was convinced they had a rat in their kitchen, which they thought was unwell as it hadn’t moved in some time. When we arrived our inspector soon discovered it was in fact an onion that had rolled out of their shopping bag and onto the floor.”

The RSPCA has just 500 frontline officers to deal with the entire of England and Wales – and on average receives a call every four seconds.

In the past three months, these have included someone who was convinced they had seen a monkey in a rabbit suit, and wanted the charity to investigate.

Another person phoned to complain about the use of language which some dogs may find offensive. The caller had overheard a member of the public describe their cross-breed canine as a “mongrel”, and felt that this apparently insulting language should be classed as abuse.

One caller somewhat disconcertingly said they wanted advice from the charity on watching foxes mating, asking for specific information on what they could expect to see and hear.

Finally, one woman called the Cruelty telephone line to ask if an RSPCA officer could be sent out to accompany her as a guest to a birthday lunch.

Mr Murphy said: “Many of these calls are not made in malice, and of course much as we would like to help everyone, we simply haven’t got the staff to personally investigate each and every issue that the public brings to us, so we must prioritise to make sure we get to the animals most in need.”

In addition to its usual workload, the RSPCA helped more than 2,000 animals stranded by the floods in the south and west at the start of the year.

Other calls which didn't make the top five

* Caller annoyed that her cat wasn't responding to it's name.

* Lady who wanted RSPCA to phone her son and tell him to walk the dog.

* Caller wanted charity to go round to her friends and get her RSPCA catalogue back because her friend has had it for ages.

* Caller wanted the times for the bus to RSPCA Putney animal hospital.

* Someone called the national emergency line about a bag of clothes that hadn't been collected for the charity shop.

* Caller wanted a list of educational "animal -themed" places she could visit in the area.

* Caller wanted RSPCA to try and help her get a council house, so she could get a pet (as her rented house did not allow it).

The RSPCA also highlighted an older (but very memorable) call which involved a woman who was concerned about a cat up on a roof.

When the charity's officers arrived it quickly became apparent that it was, in fact, a satellite dish.

If you have a genuine call about animals in immediate danger of abuse and neglect, the Cruelty number is 0300 1234 999. To donate, visit the RSPCA website.