Rescuing a plastic horse from a ditch: Warwickshire’s Large Animal Rescue Unit celebrates one year of service

The Large Animal Rescue Team
The Large Animal Rescue Team

Warwickshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service’s Large Animal Rescue Unit is celebrating its first year as a specialist rescue and rapid response service.

The team respond to calls from across the county to rescue animals that may be trapped or lost underground.

During their first year, the team has attended a range of incidents including coming to the aid of a cow stuck in mud, a horse trapped in a well, a foal stuck in a trench and a sheep stuck in a river.

Rugby Station Commander, Roland Bayley, said: “Since the launch of the Large Animal Rescue Unit, we have attended around 30 incidents which have required a specialist rescue. The most recent of which was assisting Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service with the rescue of Foxy the race horse, who somehow managed to fall down a well.

“Luckily, that rescue did have a happy ending and foxy was reunited with a very relieved owner.

“Throughout the year, the animal rescue instructors have continued to train with the crews at different locations around the county. This however, would not have been possible without the support from local farmers, stables and veterinaries, who allow our firefighters to work with their animals to learn more about the different types and breeds of animals they may come across.

“As part of the training sessions, crews are required to undertake rescues with our horse mannequin ‘siren’.

“He has been a valuable training aid and has found himself in many a ditch and river around Rugby, which has caused a lot of interest for passers-by. No one ever expects to see a full size plastic horse being rescued by firefighters!”

The team is now awaiting the arrival of a new large animal rescue vehicle to help carry some of specialist equipment required for rescues and to increase animal rescue capability within Warwickshire.