A stranded sheep had a narrow escape this week after the RSPCA’s specialist water rescue training waded into the River Leven to rescue her.
The animal welfare charity was called on Tuesday lunchtime (20 September) by a man who had spotted the ewe trapped on a small ledge in the river, in High Leven, Yarm.
She had fallen from the riverbank into the water and been trapped for at least three hours.
RSPCA chief inspector (CI) Mark Gent, inspector Nick Jones and animal collection officer (ACO) Jamie Lee Pipes went to the scene to mount a water rescue.
CI Mark Gent said: “It looks like the sheep had fallen about 4ft from the embankment into the river before managing to scramble onto a tiny ledge to keep out of the water.
“Luckily she wasn’t injured, just trapped and very frightened. She clearly couldn’t climb to safety herself so, had the river levels have risen, she would have been at risk of drowning.
“I managed to wade out to her in a flood suit with support from land by my colleagues, grab hold of her and carry her to safety. She was very happy to run off back to her flock on dry land.”
The officers contacted the farmer and issued some advice about fencing for the field.
“We’re just pleased this one had a happy ending and, with our advice issued, hopefully something similar won’t happen again,” CI Gent added.
The RSPCA has around 100 specially-trained inspectors and officers who are equipped to deal water rescues.
The charity also has a fleet of 35 inflatable boats, sea boats and portable roll away boats to help rescue animals as well as deliver vital supplies to stranded herds of horses and cattle during floods.
Water response team members undergo a week-long swift water technician course at Plas y Brenin in north Wales with a refresher every year and a recertification every three years.
The RSPCA is a charity and we rely on public donations to exist. To assist our inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).