Animal rescuers on red alert as it rains cats and dogs in Britain

OXFORD, England, July 25, 2007 (AFP) – It is not only humans who have been hit by Britain’s worst floods in 60 years — cats, dogs and donkeys are also suffering, prompting a rescue mission on an unprecedented scale. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has sent a third of its inspectors to central and western England, where they are working round the clock to ensure the safety of all creatures great and small.

One of the team, Kirsty Hampton, patrols the flooded plains of Oxford, the swamped university city in central England, to make sure that cows grazing there are not threatened by rising water levels.

This time, she was called out by a concerned onlooker but, standing on a fence and peering over to where they are grazing on an island of grass, she is satisfied they are not at risk.

Hampton, 30, an inspector for over six years, said some of her most challenging operations in the last few days had involved using rubber dingys to rescue greyhounds whose kennels had flooded.

“They were quite scared and needed quite a lot of reassurance, we had to get the manager who they knew to go with them,” she said. “But they were really good — I guess they are used to being