H ampshire's 20 years of animal rescue

A fire and rescue service says it has helped develop national standards and protocols after 20 years of animal rescue.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service recognised in 2004, the lack of formal procedures for helping animals who found themselves in tricky situations.

So a small team of firefighters formed a new unit to provide specialist advice.

Over the last two decades, the service has rescued a cow from a swimming pool, a python stuck in a car and a badger who used a cat flap to enter a house.

Firefighter Jim Green was one of the founding members of the team.

Mr Green said he has been involved with hundreds of incidents and many "successful and rewarding rescues".

He said: "When emergencies happen to people, they also happen to animals."

"I am proud of the contribution the Hampshire team have made over the years to our national understanding of this unique rescue type," he added.

A memorable rescue for the team involved three Shire horses stuck in a bog near Basingstoke.

Each horse weighed nearly a tonne and the team rescued all three horses unharmed, with just people power.

During the last 20 years, the team has built on its experience, developed new skills, shared its knowledge and utilised new equipment, the service said.

It added that the team's pioneering work also led to the development of an animal rescue practitioners forum, part of the National Fire Chiefs Council and the formal development of national protocols and standards.

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