Firefighters have carried out more animal rescue missions in Hartlepool than anywhere else in the brigade area, figures have shown.
Figures from Cleveland Fire Brigade, gained from a Freedom of Information request, show that in total firefighters were called out on 56 rescue missions for animals from 2017 until the start of November last year.
Of those, 19 were in Hartlepool, compared to 16 in Stockton, 11 in Redcar and 10 in Middlesbrough.
However, eight of those in Hartlepool were across just a four-month period last year between July and October.
Firefighters said while it is not one of their primary responsibilities they do get called out to rescue animals in need on occasions, such as to rescue cats, dogs and farm animals.
Steve Johnson, area manager prevention and Protection for Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “Animal rescue is not one of our statutory duties.
“However, from time to time we do get requests to respond to incidents where there is a potential risk to the public e.g. if an incident may impact on road safety, or to support other services e.g. the police.
“If an animal requires rescue then animal rescue organisations and local council animal welfare teams can offer advice in the first instance.”
Firefighters work closely with local vets, the RSPCA and owners of animals on rescues and encourage people to first contact the RSPCA.
Of the 56 incidents firefighters were called out on across the area, 32 were to rescue pets from difficult situations leaving their owners needing help.
Meanwhile, 16 of the incidents were to rescue wild animals and eight were for livestock.
In total, 30 of the rescue missions involved saving an animal which had become trapped and 18 of them were rescues from a height.
Three of the rescues were for animals in stuck in mud or water, while the remaining five were categorised as ‘other’ by the fire service.
Although the number of incidents in Hartlepool rose slightly, from eight in 2017 to 11 in 2018, the overall number decreased.
Firefighters were called out on 31 animal rescues in 2017 compared to 25 in 2018.
Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service