A shoal of goldfish are waiting to be claimed by their “reckless” owner after being dumped illegally in a Chesterfield river.
The animal welfare charity was called to Holme Brook River in Ashgate Valley Road on Thursday afternoon (July 26).
RSPCA Inspector Mick Darling said: “We were called by a woman who saw around 15 to 20 goldfish being dumped in the stream on Wednesday (July 25).
“She was concerned because, due to the heatwave and low water level, the fish were trapped in a small part of the waterway.
“I went along and spotted seven fish, and managed to catch four. I returned to the stream on Sunday (29 July) with a colleague to have another go at catching the rest. We managed to catch a further six.”
Officers who were also concerned about the fish as the waterway continued to dry up in the hot weather returned to the site on Monday (July 30) and Tuesday (July 31) to see if they could spot any further fish but couldn’t find any more.
“Thankfully, I believe we were able to save all of the fish,” Inspector Darling added.
“However, releasing these fish into the waterway was a very irresponsible and reckless thing to do.
“Not only were these fish at risk of dying as the water dried up in the stream - but releasing goldfish, or any non-native species, into the wild in England is also illegal under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.
“I’d like to urge any fishkeepers never to release their pets into the wild but to seek help from a rescue centre or local aquatics shop if they can no longer keep the fish.”
Inspector Darling left a notice on a tree near the stream. If the fish are not claimed then they will find a new home via the charity.
For advice and information on how best to care for a pet fish please see the RSPCA website - and to offer a rescue fish a new home please go to: www.rspca.org.uk/findapet.
To help the RSPCA continue to rescue animals like these please donate by visiting www.rspca.org.uk/give.