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Haste costs lives.

August 21, 2021
by Tuhin Satarkar

The Situation: We got a call on our helpline for a dog that was stuck on a narrow ledge on the exterior of a construction building (for over 24 hours).

What we did: The location was about 1 hour away from us. We told the reporter to keep an eye on it from a distance, make sure no one causes any disturbance to it or attempts any rescue without safety equipment and trained personnel. It is important for the already stressed animal stuck in a precarious position to not feel additional pressure until the time of actual rescue. Our technical rescue team immediately packed the rescue gear and was on their way within ten minutes of getting the call.

What eventually happened:

A local there, a young man, out of good intention, climbed up the building, without any safety for him or any equipment to secure the animal. The dog jumped off in fright and the rest is HISTORY.

What we need to remember:

(1) Good intention is important, but not always enough to save a life from such a situation. The person who wanted to rescue the animal was probably well-meaning, but the lack of knowledge on animal behaviour under duress and safety costed an animal life.

(2) Patience is CRITICAL. The animal had already been stranded there for a long time, waiting 1-1.5 hours more till trained help arrives (especially if there is an option available to you in your city/area) would not have harmed the animal.

(3) Follow instructions provided to you by a trained rescue team until they arrive. Sometimes, the smallest thing you can do to help save a life.

Scores of unethical and unsafe rescue videos going viral on social media encourage a layman or animal enthusiast to attempt such rescues. Please evaluate and compare ‘what all can go wrong’ versus ‘this an easy rescue because…’ before you attempt conducting a technical animal rescue. If it is easy enough with very little chance of danger to humans or animals, go ahead, if not, WAIT. As a rescuer, you are no good to anyone dead nor is a failed rescue that results in an animal dead.

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