A runaway horse has been put down after it fell down a manhole in Downham Market, Norfolk.
Police were called just after 4am yesterday morning (6 November) when a member of the public reported the stuck horse.
It is thought that the horse had escaped from London Road and had been running around the town before it entered the courtyard of an old cinema where its front legs fell into the manhole.
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service were called and two engines and a specialist urban search and rescue team attended.
A vet was also called to the scene and the horse was sedated.
“The fire service used lifting equipment to free the horse. It was eventually removed from the hole at around 8am,” said a spokesman from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.
“However once it was winched out the vet deemed that its injuries were too bad for it to continue a normal life so it was put to sleep,” the spokesman added.
“It is a very sad case.”
Fire services around Britain are called every week to help to free horses that have become stuck or been involved in road traffic accidents.
However, there is concern that with fire services facing cuts that there will be less resources available for animal rescue.
In July, Jim Green from the specialist animal rescue unit based at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service called on the public for greater support.
“There are significant cuts being made over the next three to four years,” Mr Green told H&H. “Animal rescue is one of the areas being scrutinised. We will have to be more efficient as we won’t have the resources we’ve had.
In 2012, the British Animal Rescue and Trauma Association was set up to help fire services to receive training.
“We need to keep our profile up and urge people to support the work of the animal rescue services in times of financial trouble,” Mr Green added.
Here are some more H&H news stories about horses that have been rescued from unusual places, with happier endings:
Firecrews came to rescue the seven-year-old horse who was wedged under a large pipe in his field in Thornton, Fife.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to a farm in Godshill, where the 15hh gelding had wandered on to the plastic covering of a neighbour’s pool and fallen in.
The four-year-old New Forest-cross, “Mischief”, was sedated by a vet to enable the 12 firefighters to carry out the rescue.
The horse was stuck for more than hour after it was involved in a crash on the M6.