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Cow trapped in vehicle inspection pit and horse stuck in ditch put down after failed rescues at New Forest farms

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TWO trapped animals had to be put down after separate unsuccessful rescue attempts by firefighters at New Forest farms.

Multiple crews rushed to help free a cow which had fallen into a vehicle inspection pit and a horse which was stuck in a ditch before they were ultimately forced to have them euthanised.

The first call-out was to a distressed 500kg heifer in a building at Plumley, Alderholt, around 7.40am last Friday, with animal rescue advisor Jim Green leading the operation.

Multiple fire crews responded to the animal rescues (photo: HIWFRS)
Multiple fire crews responded to the animal rescues (photo: HIWFRS)

Crews from Brockenhurst, Fordingbridge, Winchester and Poole joined forces in numerous efforts during the course of over five hours to free the cow, which was sedated by a vet.

But Mr Green told the A&T the structure of the pit and the building’s floor prevented them from safely freeing it through methods such as lifting with strops or digging it out.

“We tried manual techniques, but the cow was pinned to the pit with a piece of farm machinery, which really hindered us,” he said.

“We tried everything in our toolbox of techniques and expertise we’ve accumulated over the years, but we had to make the decision to euthanise the animal on welfare grounds. It was obviously tough for its owners as well.”

At around 7.50am, crews from Lymington, Lyndhurst and Winchester responded to a call-out reporting a male gypsy cob was in difficulty at a farm in Setley.

A fire service manitou vehicle from Eastleigh was also used in the operation.

Having spent about four hours unsuccessfully attempting to safely extricate the horse from the ditch, the firefighters handed it over to the vet to be put to sleep.

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