3:00pm Thursday 29th March 2012
ANIMAL rescue teams from Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service put all their training to good use when a trailer full of bull calves came a cropper just outside Worton, near Devizes, on Monday afternoon.
The incident took place on the sharp bend just outside the village when a trailer containing about 20 calves being towed by a tractor overturned.
Station manager Tom Brolan, who is in charge of the animal rescue squad, said: “When the farm workers opened the door of the trailer the calves just ran for it. There were 17 or 18 of them running across the road.
“They managed to get them into a field by the time we arrived.When we looked inside the trailer, two calves were dead, but one was trapped at the front of the trailer.
“A vet was summoned from Estcourt House Veterinary Centre in Devizes to sedate the animal so the firefighters could try to free it. It is one of our golden rules that a vet should be there to sedate the animal. The last thing we want is for the animal, or one of us, to get injured during the operation.
“Once the calf was drugged, the fire officers were able to cut away the front of the trailer. The calf was then laid on a plastic sheet and dragged to the entrance to the field.
Mr Brolan said: “It is not good for an animal that size to be laid down for too long as it affects its vital organs.
“We managed to roll it over so it was in a sphinx-like position. We got ready to try to lift it to its feet, but we noticed that the herd was coming closer “So we backed off and, sure enough, the herd coming over did the trick and the calf was soon up and about.”
The fire and rescue service’s animal rescue squad has been in operation for three years and was one of the first in the country dedicated to animal rescue.
Mr Brolan said: “We attend a national animal rescue forum.
“When we first started up there were only eight fire and rescue services involved. Now there are 31, so the message is getting across.”
In all 12 firefighters dealt with the incident, a retained fire crew from Devizes, the specialist animal rescue unit from Stratton, plus Mr Brolan and his deputy.
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