A DOG impaled on railings; a cow that had fallen into a septic tank; and a cat trapped in a car’s oil sump.

These were just three of 52 animal-related rescue calls Shropshire’s fire brigade dealt with during 2018.

And the old cliché about firefighters being called to rescue cats from trees or other high places came true nine times that year, prompting the RSPCA to urge owners to try more common-sense methods of coaxing pets down before contacting emergency services.

Details released under the Freedom of Information Act show there were five bird-related calls, 12 cat-related calls and nine dog rescues handled by the Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service between January and November.

Just after 2pm on August 31, officers reported that a dog had been released using hydraulic cutting equipment after being accidentally “impaled” on railings. One rescue vehicle attended the scene, and the animal was handed over to a vet for further care.

There were seven calls relating to cattle, although some of these involved multiple animals, including one case, on August 6, when four cows had to be rescued from the River Severn using six vehicles, including a boat.

On November 21 officers reported that a “large animal” – later clarified to be a cow – was released, unconscious, from a septic tank using a crane. It was taken to a safe area while a vet arrived.

Other incidents included a kitten rescued from behind a wardrobe around 9.30pm on April 4; a cockerpoodle dog trapped in barbed wire on the morning of May 13; an adult female peregrine falcon rescued from a cliff face on the afternoon of June 25; a squirrel rescued from a house downpipe on the morning of September 6.

– A kitten rescued from behind a kitchen cupboard just after midnight on November 3.

Three appliances attended an incident  on April 25 when a cat was released from the sump of a 4×4 vehicle – one of 12 calls the Shropshire fire brigade attended involving cats or kittens.

In nine of these cases, the animal was stuck in a tree, on a roof, or some other high place – the highest of these was stuck 25 metres off the ground on September 9.

In another incident, on August 7, fire crews were unable to rescue the cat, so left the scene for the cat’s owner and the occupier of the property to handle.

In another case, on February 2 the feline “self-rescued” from the roof of a two-storey home, after one appliance was called to the scene.

An RSPCA spokesperson said: “In the vast majority of cases cats are very capable of getting themselves down, so unless there are special circumstances, we advise owners try and coax their pet down with strong-smelling food, like fish.

“If that doesn’t work, give us a call back after 24 hours.”

Talking about animal rescues generally, she added: “We work very closely with the emergency services and their highly-trained crews have assisted in many animal rescues over the years and we will call for their help when required.

“We are always incredibly grateful for their help.”

“Some crews use animal rescues for training but emergencies involving people will always take priority.

“In some cases crews attend to minimise the risk of members of the public attempting to carry out rescues themselves and potentially putting themselves in danger.

“Anyone who is concerned for the welfare of an animal or who sees an animal in distress should call the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency line on 0300 1234 999.