Emergency services have been awarded certificates of commendation for their role in rescuing three neglected Shetland ponies, one which was in foal.
The Seaford crew from East Sussex Fire & Rescue, the West Sussex Fire & Rescue technical response unit and Matthew Holt of Sussex Police have been awarded the certificates by the RSPCA after they took part, with World Horse Welfare, in a five-hour rescue operation of the ponies in Piddinghoe, near Newhaven, East Sussex on 20 April 2018.
The police and fire services were requested by the RSPCA as capture pens needed to be carried on to the site which could not be accessed by vehicles, making the rescue “very tricky”.
The fire crews were given the RSPCA inspectorate certificate of commendation at a presentation last month and Mr Holt of Sussex Police is due to receive his certificate soon.
RSPCA chief inspector Patrick Hamby, who presented the certificates, said: “The RSPCA works very closely with the emergency services and we are always incredibly grateful for any help we receive from them.
“This was a multi-agency job and the help of East Sussex and West Sussex fire services, as well as Sussex Police and World Horse Welfare, were vital in ensuring that we could rescue the horses from poor conditions.
“We wanted to officially thank the emergency services for their efforts and recognise their support and hard work.”
Incident commander Tony McCord, at East Sussex Fire & Rescue said: “The ponies had not had any human contact and been neglected for an extended period of time and were in desperate need of care.
The footbridge is roped off, but firefighters believe someone may have forgotten to close the rope, which allowed the horse
The mare was rescued by firefighters after she sunk up to her hindquarters
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“As a team we all helped round the ponies up into the pens so they could be sedated, inspected and then put into horseboxes for transporting to the sanctuary.”
Michael Lewin, technical rescue unit manager at West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, said: “I am very pleased this incident resulted in a positive outcome for the horses, and I would like to thank our team and the other agencies involved for their collaborative efforts. It is great to see they have been recognised for their hard work and efforts by the RSPCA.”
The ponies were taken into the care of World Horse Welfare where they have recovered from their ordeal.
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