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Alison Miles says London Fire Brigade visited her home twice but declined to attempt a rescue. Two-year-old cat Buddy had jumped high into the 70-foot tree after being spooked by New Year’s Eve fireworks and eventually had to be coaxed down by a tree surgeon after three and a half days. The fire brigade says their ladders were not long enough to reach the cat and that it was their crew members that suggested the tree surgeon.
Alison says her daughter Zoe, nine, had sleepless nights while their large white cat with black markings was stranded.
One firefighter allegedly told the mum, from Charlton, southeast London: “I don’t like cats.”
Alison is also angry with the RSPCA, which has responded by saying it is working with “limited resources”.
Speaking to MyLondon, Alison said: “If I could pick who I pay my taxes to, the fire brigade wouldn’t be there at all.
“Lewisham Fire Brigade came out and one officer said ‘I don’t like cats, I’m not risking my men.’
“We pay their wages and they don’t want to do the job.
“As for the RSPCA, I’m disgusted with them. They haven’t even called to see if he needs treatment.
“We’re relieved now. It was the longest three and a half days of our life.
“To my family and to my daughter, he’s not a cat – he’s her baby. She didn’t sleep for the three nights he was out there. She couldn’t even thank the man who got him down as she was crying so much.”
If I could pick who I pay my taxes to, the fire brigade wouldn’t be there at all
Buddy was in the tree in Mottingham, southeast London, until Patrick Schroth. of PS Tree Specialists, came out on Bank Holiday Monday to rescue him.
The tree surgeon said: “I was told the cat had been up there for three days and nights and it wasn’t going to hang on much longer.
“It’s a little girl’s cat at the end of the day, so you do what you can, don’t you?”
London Fire Brigade said firefighters had suggested a tree surgeon would be best placed to free the animal.
A spokesperson for the service said: “A crew from Eltham attended on Monday and the officer in charge looked at all options. The cat was higher than the traditional ladders carried on fire engines and an aerial ladder would not have been able to pitch close enough to affect a rescue.
“Firefighters explained the situation to the residents, suggested a tree surgeon might be able to help and left so that they were available for another emergency call.
“Firefighters are animal lovers and two of the five firefighters who attended the scene are cat owners themselves. We’re very happy to see the safe return of the cat and the old adage of not seeing cat skeletons at the bottom of trees remains true.”
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “As a charity we have limited resources, and over the new year weekend our animal rescue officer was called to a number of critical emergencies, including four foxes suffering with injured legs, a swan with a neck injury, a pigeon with a broken wing, and six orphan kittens abandoned in a car park.
“She was in touch with the cat’s owner and understood that the cat did not appear to be injured, and a fire service and a tree surgeon were being contacted.
“A second animal rescue officer followed up with a call yesterday (Tuesday 4 January) and we were really pleased to hear the cat was down from the tree, safe and uninjured.”
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