Pet rescue needed in East Sussex

A wildlife charity is finding itself being called to more and more domestic and agricultural animals than ever before. Yesterday (Monday 22nd March 2010) WRAS received over 12 calls for help with a peahen wandering around Uckfield and 7 turkeys wandering loose around Alfriston. As a result of these calls and many others the charity is saying there is clearly a need for an Animal Rescue team in East Sussex which deal with escaped pet and agricultural animals.

They are also asking for help in homing a male Muscovy Duck named 'Musket', after its was rescued late at night at Kingston near Lewes. The duck was reported as a road casualty with blood on its chest and the charity's volunteer rescuers attended on site as an emergency. The duck was found to have puncture marks to its chest probably from a fox.

"Muscovy Ducks are not native wildlife, but when you arrive on site to find it is not native you can’t exactly refuse to rescue it when it was clearly in need of veterinary help" said WRAS rescuer Tony Neads who caught the duck.

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) volunteers have paid for 'Musket' the duck's treatment and he is now recovering in an outdoor pen, but WRAS do not have suitable facilities to home him themselves. We have contacted several domestic animal sanctuaries across East Sussex but none of them have been able to help us by taking on the duck. “We are in a difficult situation here and really do not know where to turn for help, as it’s a male duck and nobody seems interested. We don’t want to put him to sleep, so are appealing for help in finding him a suitable home” said WRAS founder Trevor Weeks.

WRAS is finding more and more often that it is getting called to domestic and agricultural animals which have escaped. "We have recently been asked to round up 7 turkeys in Alfriston, 3 turkeys running around Glynde, a peahen running around Uckfield, a polecat in Seaford, and in the past few months we have even had calls about cats stuck up trees, stray and abandoned dogs, various peacocks, missing parrots, escaped pet birds of prey, agricultural and pet sheep which have escaped, escaped snakes in peoples houses, chicken fallen off lorries, chipmunks living wild and more. We are a wildlife rescue charity and we have to be careful that the Charities Commission don't fine us for working outside our remit. Our volunteers will on occasions help where they can, myself and others have funded these rescues out of our own pockets to prevent WRAS being fined" added Trevor.

"There really needs to be a domestic animal rescue organisation in the county who will go out to do these types of rescues. WRAS’s turnover is lower than all the registered charities who run mixed species domestic animal sanctuaries in East Sussex, that we are aware of, but we are frequently the only organisation which will respond, especially at night. Carla Lane’s Animal Line has now closed down as well as other individuals across the region. The RSPCA have limited staff available for undertaking rescues and we frequently find ourselves being contacted as a last resort as no one else is able to help. Our workload is already stretched and funding is limited, as a result volunteers like myself struggle to survive ploughing our own money into dealing with these rescues, even Sussex Police have called us to domestic animals as a last resort finding no one else to help," said Trevor.

WRAS is not complaining about the current domestic animal rescue centres, who do a fantastic amount of work already. "If a problem is not identified it will never get solved and we hope that by bringing this to the public's attention 'Musket' our duck might get homed and more people might consider helping to home unwanted animals from the existing animal rescue centres freeing up space for new ones to be rescued, as well as hopefully new people getting involved in animal rescue. Prevention is better than cure, and we would ask people who take on animals to consider the long term commitments and the environment they keep them in and whether it is secure enough as many of these calls are where animals have escaped" said Trevor.

Anyone wanting to make a donation to WRAS should send a cheque to "East Sussex WRAS", PO Box 2148, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 9DE or donate online or if you would like to home 'Muskett' pleas ring WRAS on 07815 078234

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Press Contact: Trevor Weeks, Director, East Sussex WRAS, 07931 523958

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