A partnership between Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, the RSPCA and local vets has once again proved successful after they saved a trapped New Forest pony.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Control Room operators handled a 999 call at 06:47am on Monday, November 24 to reports of a pony trapped in wiring at Keyhaven Marshes, near the Gun Inn in the New Forest. They arrived to find the yearling pony trapped by its hind legs in stock fencing and barbed wire.
The incident occurred in brambles, down a slope and the pony may have been there some time before being spotted by a passing dog walker.
Crews from Lymington and Eastleigh fire stations were in attendance along with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Animal Rescue Specialist, Jim Green.
Watch Manager Jim Green said:
We believe the pony had been trapped for some time and it was important to release it as quickly as possible but the location prevented crews from working safely around the animal. A fundamental control measure in these cases is chemical restraint in the form of sedation or sometimes full anaesthesia.
Peter Tunney, an equine vet from Seadown Vets, was quickly on scene and after being equipped with safety line and helmet, gave the pony sufficient sedative to enable a safe rescue with no further trauma to the pony.
Once released from the fence and assessed by the vet, firefighters made the pony comfortable allowing it to come round from the sedative. The pony's owner arrived and took it back to the farm where it is expected to make a full recovery.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service carries out around 80 large animal rescues every year and is so well regarded in this specialistfield of rescue that it chairs a national group that is made up of representatives from Fire and Rescue Services, the RSPCA and British Equine Veterinary Association. The purpose of the group is to develop national standards and provision to equip firefighters to carry out what is an extremely dangerous element of their job.
Trapped animals are unaware that firefighters are there to help and often react instinctively against what it perceives as an aggressor.
It is imperative that safe working practices are developed
in order to protect firefighters, members of the public and the
animal itself. Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service also hosts trauma
care courses for vets in association with the British Equine
Veterinary Association. This is a pioneering course which
gives vets knowledge of how to work with the emergency services
at a rescue, just like we would work with a paramedic at a road
collision and provide us with the correct drugs regime for the
task.", added Jim.