The RSPCA and Greater Manchester Fire Service spent four hours rescuing a stricken cow which had become stuck in a ditch on Wednesday (19th June) on remote moorland and was unable to moo-ve.
Specialist fire teams were called to assist the animal welfare charity after a dog walker spotted the frightened farm animal in a concrete ditch surrounding New Year’s Eve Reservoir, off Huddersfield Road in Oldham, which forms part of Saddleworth Moor.
Animal Welfare Officer (AWO) Steve Wickham, from the RSPCA, was sent to the scene just before 1pm and could see he would need assistance as the cow was in gully surrounded by six-feet high concrete walls.
He called for the help of the fire service and four crews attended including a specialist unit.
It was decided the safest way to rescue the cow would be to build a ramp and guide her out.
So, the specialist unit - which has a vehicle which carries large pieces of wood to stabilise buildings following a fire - got to work on creating this.
Steve said: “We believe the cow had been stuck for at least two days so we were concerned about her welfare.
“Firefighters had to carry wood about a mile to the scene as they could not get their appliance to where the cow was as it was such a remote location.
“They then got to work of cutting the wood up to create the ramp while other fire officers contained the cow in one area.
“The animal rescue unit also had to move some fencing at the top of the ditch so we could get her safely into a field and away from danger.
“Once this was in place I was able to guide the heifer out of the ditch and into the field and then we moved the fencing back so she was safely enclosed and we let the farmer know.
“She seemed very calm about the situation but it was lucky she was spotted as this is such a remote area she could have suffered a lingering death.”
The whole operation took almost four hours to complete with four fire crews helping out.
Steve said: “It was quite a job but the fire crews said it was good from a training point of view for them so it was a win-win situation. We’re always incredibly grateful for any help we receive from them.
“We work very closely with the emergency services and their highly trained crews have assisted in many animal rescues over the years.
“Like any member of the public, the RSPCA can request the help of the fire and rescue service when there is a question of health and safety and we are unable to access and rescue an animal in trouble ourselves.”
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