Animal rescue.

The London Fire Brigade rescues hundreds of creatures every year – from pigs to cats to bearded dragons.


Our Fire Rescue Unit works with the Police, the RSPCA and other specialist organisations to rescue animals in distress. In 2020, we were involved in 755 animal rescues, including:

  • 337 cats
  • 214 birds
  • 73 dogs 
  • 61 foxes
  • 17 horses
  • 17 deer
  • 7 squirrels

Among the more unusual animal rescue incidents of 2020 were a call to a snake in the kitchen, a hamster stuck behind a cupboard, a trapped parrot and a squirrel caught in a chimney.

However, we also rescue many animals when we attend fires – for example, the fire at London Zoo in December 2017 where many animals were evacuated to safety.

How do we help?

It depends on the creature and the specific circumstances. Typically we will be asked to attend an animal rescue following a request from another emergency service or the RSPCA.

What should you do if you see an animal in distress?

Contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999, or using their contact form. Their dedicated experts can provide best advice straight away, and will contact us directly if our involvement is necessary.

Meet the team

"Over the years, I’ve rescued snakes from car exhaust pipes, deer from a shopping centre, even a seal from the Thames. It’s more typical that we’ll be freeing cows or horses from mud, ditches and fences, or domestic pets who’ve become trapped due to accidents or fires."

Did you know?

  • London has hundreds of mews streets where the horses and their handlers lived behind the great white houses of the affluent. These residences are a particularly noticeable feature of Belgravia, Kensington and Bayswater.
  • Only one mews stable remains, at Bathurst Mews, about a furlong from Hyde Park.
  • Always contact the RSPCA in the first instance if you see an animal in distress. If they need our specialist skills they will call us and we will assist.

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