THE RSPCA’s specialist emergency teams have been deployed to a number of incidents across Wales due to the flooding devastation caused by Storm Dennis.
Flocks of sheep and horses have been trapped in flooded fields in Llandeilo, Newcastle Emlyn and on Monday, (Feb 17) specially-trained officers were deployed to St Asaph to rescue 22 stranded sheep.
RSPCA inspector Emma Williams also offered assistance to emergency crews at Nantgarw – where residents were evacuated from their homes. Sadly the RSPCA were informed that a dog had drowned there.
RSPCA deputy chief inspector Phil Lewis, who is the water rescue coordinator in Wales and for the West & South West said: “Storm Dennis has caused great devastation across Wales and our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected.
“We have received numerous calls across Wales and have been on ‘Full Alert’ status. We have seen prolonged rainfall coming in on top of areas that are already saturated. As a result over the weekend, we’ve been so busy that – as I’m sure people will understand – we have had to prioritise emergency calls.
“All our water rescue teams have been deployed and off-duty staff have come in to help with the emergency. We are there to help where we can but we urge people to be prepared and make sure they’ve made plans for their pets and livestock.”
An RSPCA water rescue team was deployed to St Asaph where 22 sheep were trapped by floodwater.
RSPCA officers attended several incidents over the course of the weekend. RSPCA inspector Rohan Barker was called to Newcastle Emlyn where more than 40 sheep were trapped in flood water. The water luckily seemed to be receding and it wasn’t raining. This incident concluded in the farmer rescuing the sheep at Newcastle Emlyn safely with a 4×4 tractor.
The water rescue team was called following reports of 25 sheep dead and drowning in a field in Llandeilo. Sadly, only one sheep was rescued alive by the RSPCA. RSPCA officers also attended another incident in Llandeilo where horses were stranded. After speaking to the owner, the horses were left in situ, as they were deemed to be at a safe place away from the water, while the water rescue team were deployed to other emergency situations.
RSPCA inspector Emma Williams attended Nantgarw to offer assistance to the emergency teams who were evacuating residents.
“I left animal boxes for transportation and my contact details for them to call me if they need immediate assistance,” said Emma. “It was just heartbreaking to see the impact of the storm.
“The emergency services were doing such an amazing job in such difficult circumstances and I’m glad to hear that residents and their pets were evacuated safely. Although we have heard reports that a dog sadly drowned at Nantgarw.
“Our thoughts go out to the owner along with everyone who was affected.”
The RSPCA has lots of advice for all animal owners to ensure their pets and livestock stay safe in harsh weather conditions, such as flooding, on its website. We urge farmers and pet owners to prepare in case of flooding so you can get your animals to safety more easily.
Phil added: “If you live in an area at risk of flooding, make sure you have an escape plan so that you know how to get your animals out of danger. Flood water rises rapidly, so if there is a flood warning don’t hope for the best, act early. If disaster strikes, put your animal flood plan into action. Ensure you can be contacted in an emergency and keep phone numbers of people who can help move your animals.
“Don’t put your own or another life in danger to attempt an animal rescue. In case of flooding, the RSPCA has an experienced team – trained to work in water, to rescue both people and animals – to provide assistance to communities affected by flooding.”
RSPCA inspectors were also called to help a sheep who found herself stranded on a bank by a raging river engorged by floodwater in Storm Ciara.
RSPCA inspector Fred Armstrong and chief inspector Leanne Hardy were called to Park Road, Gwersyllt, Wrexham, on Monday 10 February.
Fred said: “The water was extremely strong and the sheep was a long way away so we had to work as a team with one officer wading through the water extremely cautiously while the other held a guide rope.”
The duo were able to capture the frightened sheep and take her back across the river to the mainland where they carried her to a local’s stable to dry off.
“We managed to check her over and luckily she was no worse for wear – if a little damp,” Fred added. “We located her owner and they came to collect her later in the day to return her to her field.”
Never put your own life in danger to attempt an animal rescue – you can stay informed by calling floodline on 0845 988 1188. Remember – if you see an animal outside in the cold that looks like it is suffering, take a note of the location, the time and date and call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website or call our donation line on 0300 123 8181.