‘The light was fading and the water rising’: watch rescuers help pony to safety through deep floods

  • A rescue team swam out to rescue a pony stuck on a small patch of dry land after she became trapped by rising floods.

    The mare, who has been dubbed Jemima Puddle Duck, was spotted by members of the public in Guildford, who contacted the RSPCA as they were concerned about her.

    “We believe the young mare — a trotter type — had been trapped on a very small wooded area of higher ground, between the A3 and the River [Wey], for a day or two as the flood water around her had continued to rise and forced her further and further into the undergrowth,” said RSPCA animal welfare officer Carl Hone, who was team leader on the scene.

    “When we arrived we waded across the water, which was extremely deep in places, and could see that she’d been there for some time as she’d eaten the bark off all of the trees in the vicinity.

    “We managed to carry some hay over for her and she devoured it — she was clearly hungry.”

    Equine officer Rebecca Carter and floods officer Nick Wheelhouse swam over to secure the pony and decided she needed removing immediately.

    “As the light was fading and the water was rising we had to act quickly so we decided the best option to rescue the pony quickly was a tethered swim,” Mr Hone added.

    “We put a guide line across the water and attached it to the pony’s headcollar. We ensured it was quick-release in case anything happened as we didn’t want the pony to get tangled in the line.

    “Thankfully, the pony was young and active and easily managed the short swim across the deepest section before finding her footing on the ground our side of the flood water.”

    They used an old sleeping bag as a makeshift rug before transporting her to a nearby yard, where she has settled in well.

    A statement from the charity said officers left a note for her owners and if she is not claimed after 14 days, she will be moved to an RSPCA rehoming centre.

    Jason Finch, RSPCA water rescue coordinator, said: “We’ve had teams working tirelessly during the recent stormy weather to respond to emergencies and save the lives of animals in perilous situations.

    “Every day, our brave officers have waded through cold water and even swum out to reach animals who need rescuing.”

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    He added: “Training our officers and ensuring they have all of the appropriate equipment to ensure their health and safety, as well as that of the animals, is expensive so it’s been incredible to see the reaction to our fundraising appeal and to see how many people want to support us so we can continue to provide this emergency response during times of flooding.”

    RSPCA urge the public and owners to never put their own lives in danger to attempt and animal rescue. For the latest on floodwarnings, call Floodline on 0845 9881188. To report an animal in danger, call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 with a time, date and location.

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