An animal rescue charity has revealed it was called out to more than 7,500 incidents in the North-east last year.
The incidents recorded by the Scottish SPCA all occurred as a result of calls to their animal helpline in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
Incidents attended by the charity’s animal rescue officers included that of a one-week-old squirrel rescued from a felled tree and Casper, a two-year-old cat who was stuck up a tree in Daviot for two nights in the wind and rain in September.
A snake named Mushu was also reunited with its owner in November – five months after he disappeared – after the Scottish SPCA was called out when he was discovered in a rental van being driven in Aberdeenshire.
The charity also cared for a rescued seal pup, which was discovered in distress in Fraserburgh in November, as well as appealing for information after a cat was found abandoned next to communal bins on Ferrier Crescent in Aberdeen in July last year.
Inspectors for the charity were also called to an incident in which an Aberdeenshire man was fined £700 and banned indefinitely from keeping animals.
George Milne, 79, from Huntly was sentenced in March last year for neglect and causing unnecessary suffering to a horse in his care.
Senior inspector Alison Simpson, who worked on the case, said: “We really only charge people as a last resort.
“We would always rather work with people. Often these things come from a place of ignorance.
“However, in that particular case we had no option but to take it to court.
“It can be quite upsetting when things like this happen.
“When an animal is unnecessarily suffering or the owner is being deliberately cruel then something has to be done.”
Ms Simpson also explained that every case is different, with jobs ranging from tragic to bizarre.
She said: “Every day of my job is different.
“Some incidents are quite easy and are over within a couple of hours, while some can take several days.
“I’ve done this job for 21 years now and not a single day has been the same.
“The most important thing is to maintain your compassion for animals.
“I would not be able to do my job if I didn’t care about every animal that I meet.
“Although it’s a very difficult and frustrating job at times, I do love what I do.”
The Scottish SPCA also reported that more than 2,000 animals were cared for at its Aberdeenshire Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre, with more than 600 rehomed.
Centre manager Graeme Innes said: “Last year we found wonderful new homes for more than 600 animals from our centre, but there’s always more we can do to raise awareness of the number of rescue animals in our care. Many of the animals were rescued from lives of abuse or neglect and some were even discarded like rubbish when their owners decided they no longer wanted to look after them.”
Chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We firmly believe that education is the key to preventing cruelty and we are encouraged by the continued success of our prevention through education programme for primary schools, which reached more than 23,000 children in the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire areas.”