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Trapped animals


If you find an injured or sick animal, you can phone a local vet who will be able to provide advice.

If you wish to catch and transport the animal, a vet will also be able to advise you how to do this safely. See the link in Related Information to find a local vet.

For larger injured wildlife, phone the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 and do not try to catch the animal yourself.

The following animals cannot be handled or transported by the public:

  • an injured deer
  • seal
  • wild boar
  • otter
  • badger
  • fox
  • snake
  • bird of prey (including owls)
  • swan
  • goose
  • heron
  • gull


The police do not have the authority to break into a house to rescue a stranded cat. Try and entice the cat out with food or try and find the owner of the property. If all else fails contact the RSPCA (Tel 0300 1234 999). However, they have limited resources and will only help if the animal is in immediate danger. It is more than likely that when the cat gets hungry it will leave the house the same way it got in.


It is not advisable to force entry to the vehicle yourself straight away. Depending on the level of distress, your first step should be to call the police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.

If the police don't have time to get there, then you have to decide if you should take action by forcing entry. Make sure you tell the police what you intend to do, why and, where possible, take images/footage of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident. The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if:

'at the time you believed that the person whom you believe to be entitled to consent to the destruction of or damage to the property in question . . . .would consent to it if s/he . . . had known of the destruction or damage and its circumstances' (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971).
(this legal reference is slightly modified for clarity)

Do not do this without fully assessing the situation, and being prepared to defend your actions in court, in the event of any legal action being taken against you.

The RSPCA can offer guidance on information on cruelty via their cruelty line at any time on 0300 1234 999. See further advice from the RSPCA on the website in related information.

Contact your local police force

Enter your town or postcode to see information from your local force

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