Hundreds of animals are thought to have drowned in the floods before Christmas in Cumbria.
With many other parts of northern England now being affected we speak to the team whose job it is to save pets and livestock from rising waters.
Jason Finch coordinates the RSPCA‘s Water Rescue Unit.
He has currently deployed 15 technicians out to areas around Preston, Leeds and York.
Kitted out with specialist equipment Jason says they are trained to deal with animals in situations like this. We use wading boats with guys in dry suits. They can take the boat in the water and also wade through to get to properties. They carry lots of animal rescue kit, crates and things to put the animals in.”
The jobs vary from simply getting people’s pets out of houses to rescuing flocks of sheep in flooded fields.
“Sheep are particularly susceptible to fatalities in flooding situations,” Jason explains. Their fleeces get soaked in water and so heavy that they can’t swim.”
Earlier this month a video went viral of a sheepdog in Cumbria rescuing its flock from rising flood waters.
No job is too small for the RSPCA though. In these latest floods in Yorkshire they even saved a mole from drowning.
“It was doing its best to swim against the current, down a flooded street,” Jason says. “They managed to scoop it up and take it to higher ground.”
But some animals don’t make it. In the recent Cumbria floods a horse drowned despite the team’s best efforts to save it.
Jason says it illustrates how dangerous these situations are: “If an animal the size of a horse can get swept away. You should be very careful.”
Local fire services and mountain rescue teams have also been helping to make animals safe.
It’s not just animals though, the RSPCA team are often called on to rescue people too.
“What we tend to find is people don’t want to leave their houses without their animals so they try to stay behind then all of a sudden it gets too dangerous to stay. We have removed a lot of people with pets in their houses. One guy in particular who had a heart attack was rescued by the RSPCA and one couple stranded in a school with their dog in about ten feet of flood water.”
For those people worried about their pets in similar situations, the advice from the RSPCA is to be prepared.
Jason advises owners to “make sure you’ve got lots of pet food in. Make sure you’ve got pet carriers. Think about what you’re going to do with your animals if your house does get flooded. If you have to leave your house the ideal scenario is that you take your pets with you. If that’s not possible confine them in an upstairs room with plenty of food and water to last at least three to four days.”
Article taken from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/35186429/uk-floods-getting-the-animals-out