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1 April 2010, 17:07
At 11:40 this morning [Thursday, 1 April] Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service received a 999 call from a dog-walker, reporting a New Forest pony that was stuck in a mire at West Wellow Common, running parallel to the A36.
Control Room Operators mobilised one fire appliance and the Multi Role Vehicle from Eastleigh Fire Station and one appliance from Romsey Fire Station, as well as Animal Rescue Specialist Jim Green to the scene.
On arrival crews located the pony, which was stuck on its side. A rescue path was inflated to enabled firefighters to work on stable ground as it was extremely boggy. Crews were then able to apply strops and skid the animal to hard standing.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Animal Rescue Specialist, Watch Manager Jim Green explained: “We believe the animal had been down for many hours, unable to help itself. Once freed, fed and back on dry land the pony got up on its feet and was let to the warmth and safety of a stable to recover.”
The pony, which is blind in one eye, is thought to have strayed off the main path and into the bog where it became stuck.
Watch Manager Green continued: “Rescuing an animal using these techniques means it is safe for both the rescuers and the animal, in a situation where the animal is highly distressed and could potentially cause serious injury to itself and those around it. Without the use of these techniques, and a dedicated Animal Rescue Team, such rescues could have led to the animal being put down. However, on this occasion it was a happy ending for both the animal and its owner.”
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has a team of four Animal Rescue Specialists. The dedicated team are leading the way in animal rescue work in the UK, with other fire and rescue service’s learning from their example. Their role is not solely responding to incidents, they are also heavily involved in education and the development of new rescue techniques, as well as promoting animal welfare.