Dial canine nine nine for '˜pet rescue' firefighters

From a bat up a lamppost to a dog inside a pool table, South Yorkshire fire and rescue has had some odd requests to help save animals in the last three years.

Sunday, 2nd October 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 1:10 pm
A retired racehorse had to be freed by firefighters after getting stuck in the mud. See Ross Parry copy RPYHORSE : Thoroughbred Herbie was hauled on to dry land this morning (Tues) after getting trapped in a drainage ditch in Sykehouse, South Yorks., overnight. The 30-year-old horse was exhausted following the ordeal and earned himself a well-earned rest on a pile of hay, with owner Julie Hepworth by his side. Julie bought him many years ago, after his successful career as a former racehorse who ran at Ascot and Epsom, came to an end due to an injury. A South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue spokeswoman confirmed they were called to reports of a horse that had fallen into a ditch. She added: "Firefighters, with help from other people there, were able to dig a section of the ditch out and then put straps around the horse and drag it out from the ditch."

Dogs caused the most number of call-outs with 61 incidents requiring 285 firefighters to spend their shifts hauling the animals out of badger holes, pool tables and drainage pipes.

Other creatures saved from perilous situations from April 2013 to March 2016 included sheep, snakes, badgers, cats, horses, a bat, squirrel, swans, hawks, a bull, guinea pig and fish.

Sonny the Springer with owner Paddy Moloney, after he'd got his head caught in the pool table at the White Hart pub

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Cats were to blame for 60 call-outs, 17 of which involved a feline being stuck in a tree.

Only 48 horses needed rescuing but due to their size 321 officers were needed to save them.

The most bizarre incident was when five officers spent an hour and a half rescuing a bat that had become stuck up a lamppost in May 2013.

Firefighters were called to Castle Street, Conisbrough, after a bat became entangled in fishing wire up a lamppost.

Sonny the Springer with owner Paddy Moloney, after he'd got his head caught in the pool table at the White Hart pub

A conservation specialist helped the crew who used a ladder to rescue the bat.

Similarly perplexing was when a dog had to be sawn out of a pool table in a pub in Sheffield in August last year.

Firefighters were called to the White Hart pub on St Philip’s Road, Netherthorpe in Sheffield, at around 1.30am.

Sonny the springer spaniel had been underneath the table when his head became stuck in a hole. At the time the fire service said: “Animals do get themselves in strange places but this was particularly unusual.”

Other weird rescues include five firefighters spending 36 minutes freeing a dog’s paw from another dog’s collar, 10 officers rescuing two ducks covered in kerosene and a fire crew breaking a snake out of a wall cavity in Barnsley.

Call-outs for cat rescues took a whopping 270 hours to resolve in total while horse and pony rescues took 80 hours, dogs 66 hours and birds 33 hours.

Tony Carlin, head of emergency response at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Animal rescues are an established part of fire service work that’s greatly valued by the communities we serve.

“Rescues performed by firefighters with specialist training and equipment stop the public getting into danger by attempting rescues themselves.

“These incidents also highlight that firefighters contribute far more to local communities than simply putting out fires.

“Animal rescues are part of the thousands of ‘special service’ incidents our crews attend each year, including freeing people from road traffic collisions, water rescues, flooding and lift releases.”

There has been a 25 per cent decrease in animal rescues over the last three years.