Local dog owner, June Barber, had to call the emergency services out when her dog Rosie disappeared down a badger sett. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 3726-06-13AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Pet pooch vanishes underground for three hours - leaving elderly walker on the verge of fainting.
A pet dog got into a hole load of trouble and sparked a three-hour rescue effort – after she vanished underground to bark at badgers.
Specialist search and rescue teams raced to Convent Road when pentland terrier Rosie gave her elderly walker the slip, then raced down an opening in a verge.
The seven-year-old pooch could be heard excitedly yapping deep inside the badger sett - while distraught June Barber, 85, felt like fainting.
Cotmaton Road resident June, who was looking after Rosie for her holidaying son, said: “It was so traumatic for me, especially as it was someone else’s dog.”
Firefighters from Sidmouth and a pair of expert crews, equipped with “snake” imaging cameras usually reserved for finding earthquake victims, were called to the incident at around 1.20pm.
“They reckon she was having a whale of a time. I was nearly passing out,” said June.
“She had shrugged off her harness and shot down the hole. I was left thinking ‘what do I do now?’. ”
Luckily for June a complete stranger walking up the road came to her aid and dialled 999.
Rescuers were left virtually helpless when they arrived, as badger setts are covered by legislation which states they cannot be interfered with in any way without a specific licence from Defra.
Watch manager Stephen Fowler said: “We could do little other than try to coax the dog out.
“We could hear her down the hole barking and growling. There was quite a kerfuffle going on.
“You could see she was ok in there and was chasing the badgers around. When she eventually poked her head out one of us grabbed her.
“She had a few scratches from her argument with the badger, but was none the worse for wear.”
Commander Fowler urged dog owners to be careful near badger setts and said the outcome of such incidents can be far worse if a dog becomes trapped.
Rosie went for a check-up at the vet’s on Tuesday, when June told the Herald: “I’m not walking her again! She was definitely tired because she was down there from 1pm to 4.15pm.”
June also thanked the fire-fighters for their efforts last Monday and described them as “marvellous”.