THE RSPCA has been criticised after the charity ‘failed to respond’ to reports of a suffering animal for hours.

Reports of a distressed and bleeding deer in Accrington were made in the early morning, but the charity did not turn up to put down the animal until mid afternoon.

The injured deer had wandered on to the People’s Ford forecourt in Whalley Road where it soon became too exhausted to stand for long periods.

Staff members spent much of the day trying to comfort and restrain the agitated animal which had an injured leg and a bleeding mouth.

RSPCA officers showed up approximately six hours after employees claim they contacted them.

A spokesperson said there had been a delay as they believed the deer had left the premises People’s Ford employee David Taylor said staff were trying to comfort the animal, which had wandered onto their site, close to open countryside, at 8.30am.

He said: “It was a hot day, it was in agony and we were trying to stop it leaving and wandering out into the road.

“Soon that didn’t become a problem any more as it just collapsed and lay down. It was clearly suffering. We also tried to give it water but it wouldn’t accept it.

“I had to call the RSPCA throughout the morning and on my last call I said if they were not here by 2pm I would call the Lancashire Telegraph. I was stunned by their lack of reaction.”

An RSPCA spokesperson said: “The RSPCA cruelty line took a call from police at 9.30am but when our control centre rang the member of the public back, we were told the deer had gone so the incident was closed.

“Another call came in saying the deer was still there at 12.05pm and an officer was dispatched but cancelled after a vet got in touch and offered to go along. When the vet reported not being able to get near the deer, a deer manager was called.

“It was caught and, sadly, found to have a broken jaw so was put to sleep to end its suffering.”