The Scottish SPCA is urging garden owners to be more mindful of what they leave outside after it received an increasing number of calls to its helpline for wildlife such as hedgehogs, foxes, and birds being found injured or dead in gardens.
Young birds have been found almost drowned in hot tubs and have had to be put down while hedgehogs have either died or had to be put to sleep due to injuries after being strangled by football netting.
Other cases have included a magpie trapped inside a barbeque and a young fox cub found entangled in football netting in someone’s garden.
Speaking about the recent rescues, Scottish SPCA animal rescue officer Amy Stirton said: “Of course we want the public to enjoy themselves this summer but now that the nice weather has hit people are spending more time doing activities in their gardens and this can cause problems for wildlife.
“Recently I’ve attended jobs where fledglings have been stuck in paddling pools and hot tubs.
“The birds have nearly drowned and are hypothermic by the time they are found. They then have to be taken to our National Wildlife Rescue Centre to recover from being waterlogged, or have heartbreakingly had to be put to sleep.
“I have also attended incidents of hedgehogs and a fox cub becoming trapped in football netting.
“Hedgehogs have been quite regular visitors to gardens over the last few weeks. Sadly only one survived their ordeal. Another was dead on arrival as it had been strangled by the net, and three have had to be put to sleep due to the extent of their injuries despite our best efforts to save them.
“Luckily the fox cub I rescued hadn’t been caught in the net long enough for the netting to cut in, however there is still a risk of compartment syndrome once they are freed. The cub is still receiving on going treatment.
“I even attended a magpie rescue where a bird had got stuck in a barbeque. The poor thing had managed to completely de-glove its leg trying to get out, which would have been very painful and distressing for the bird.”
Some of the rescued animals have been set free following veterinary treatment, but others have been so badly injured that they have had to be put down, the charity confirmed.
In some cases the animals found severely injured have died before rescue officers arrived.
Ms Stirton said putting away garden and leisure equipment at night could reduce rescue officer call outs significantly.
She added: “Simply tidying away any football and badminton netting, fishing equipment, paddling pools and securing hot tubs could be the difference between life and death for some of Scotland’s wildlife.
“Please enjoy the summer months, but please also be vigilant so that visiting wildlife can too.
“If anyone does discover any injured wildlife, please contact our helpline immediately on 03000 999 999.”