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24 January 2011, 09:55 | Updated: 10 February 2011, 10:52
Just before 10am on Sunday morning (23rd January) Hampshire Fire and Rescue were alerted to an animal rescue incident at a farm near the entrance to Sandy Balls holiday centre, in Godshill village.
A four-year-old horse, aptly named ‘Mischief,’ had become trapped and had to be rescued by firefighters after it wandered on to the plastic covering of a neighbour’s swimming pool in the New Forest.
The animal’s owner was able to keep the horse relatively calm until local vet, Luke Gamble of Pilgrims Veterinary Practice, was able to heavily sedate the 14-hand horse so that firefighters could rescue him.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service used specialist animal rescue techniques and equipment to lift the animal from the water. Fire crews from Fordingbridge attended the incident and were supported by the Service’s newest addition to its fleet - the dedicated Animal Rescue unit sponsored by the Petplan Charitable Trust - which is crewed by trained firefighters from Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst.
Mischief the horse was rescued from the swimming pool using specialist techniques and released to pasture land, where he is in a stable condition and none the worse for his ordeal.
Watch Manager Jim Green, who heads up Hampshire Fire and Rescue’s specialist animal rescue team, said:
"We are pleased to say that Mischief is now safe and well, and back in the hands of his owners. Any animal, small or large, that is trapped or in distress can be potentially dangerous. It is important to try and keep the animal calm, keep humans away, and request the immediate assistance of the fire and rescue service’s specialists to rescue the animal, rather than attempting to do so themselves.”
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has a team of four Animal Rescue specialists. The team are leading the way in animal rescue work in the UK, with other fire and rescue service’s learning from their example. Watch Manager Green concluded:
“Today’s incident is another example that demonstrates the importance of good partnership working between the fire service and veterinary experts in ensuring the safe rescue of distressed animals. It also shows how modern rescue techniques and approaches are improving the viability of animals in distress and the safety of all humans present at such an incident.”