What a hoot! RSPCA officers spend two hours trying to rescue plastic owl

Posted on 12:32 AM by Sameer Shah

Perhaps it was the startled look on its face. Or maybe the fact it was frozen with fear.

But when an RSPCA officer was called out to investigate an owl that had been perched on a telegraph pole for days, she was so concerned she called the fire brigade.

It was only as a crew were about to deploy their aerial platform ladder to pluck the poor bird to safety that residents realised what was happening and rushed over to tell them it was a plastic decoy.

Homeowners living near the telegraph pole in Rayleigh, Essex, were having a hoot yesterday as they described how the animal charity and Essex Fire Service wasted their time.

Receptionist Carolyn Dyerson, 43, said: 'I couldn't believe my eyes. The woman from the RSPCA had been sitting outside for two hours, watching it.

'She thought it was real and had even brought a net with her to catch it. I felt like telling her it hadn't moved in three weeks.'

Mrs Dyerson added the owl was put on the pole by telecoms firm BT after neighbours complained about birds perching on lines and leaving mess on cars.

The plastic bird of prey was supposed to act as a deterrent by scaring off the smaller birds.

Another resident said: 'If they'd bothered looking properly they'd have spotted a branch growing out of the top of the pole.

'It was obviously fake and so was the owl that was perched on it.'

The rescue mission began on Tuesday morning when an RSPCA officer was depatched following a call from a worried postman.

When the owl failed to budge so much as an inch for a couple of hours, she decided to call in the fire service to end the bird's distress.

Sub Officer Paul Tregear, of Essex Fire Service, said: 'Just to make sure, the aerial ladder platform was called out to rescue this so-called owl.

'But we were told by neighbours it was a decoy. We obviously didn't know this until we arrived.'

The RSPCA said it had been tipped off after a postman noticed the bird had remained rooted to the spot during several of his daily rounds.

Spokeswoman Klare Kennett said: 'It is not the first time we have been called to rescue an animal that isn't real but we'd rather be safe than sorry.'

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