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Animal rescues by firefighters in Ashford borough

By Dan Wright

Fire crews have been called out seven times in the last two years to rescue stricken or drowning horses in Ashford, new figures reveal.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service has released the statistics for the borough after a Freedom of Information request by our sister paper the Kentish Express.

They show how many times firefighters were called to rescue animals – with the majority of horses trapped in water or boggy ground close to Ashford Designer Outlet.

The number of horses trapped in water or boggy ground has been released by the fire service
The number of horses trapped in water or boggy ground has been released by the fire service

RSPCA spokesman Nicola Walker said: “We are grateful to firefighters for their support in completing rescues up and down the country.

“As the UK’s largest animal welfare charity, we see a large number of abandoned horses on a regular basis – and in Kent there is also currently a major problem, with dead and dying horses being dumped by their owners.

“In 2016, we took 22,000 calls about neglected horses in England and Wales, including 1,242 calls about horses in Kent, concerning 4,326 animals.”

Most horses were trapped in water or boggy ground close to the Ashford Designer Outlet
Most horses were trapped in water or boggy ground close to the Ashford Designer Outlet

The statistics show how, between February 2016 and November 2017, fire crews were called to rescue horses in Norman Road, Warehorne Road, Romney Marsh Road, Kimberley Way, Wissenden Lane, Crundale and Rolvenden.

In July last year, they had to use a 10m ladder to rescue a dog in Barrow Hill Terrace, and more recently used life jackets to save a donkey from boggy ground in Bethersden in November.

"In Kent there is currently a major problem, with dead and dying horses being dumped by their owners" - Nicola Walker

Three cats were rescued in 2017 – including one from a tree Evergreen Way.

Mrs Walker added: “Some fire crews use animal rescues for training but emergencies involving people will always take priority.

“In some cases crews attend to minimise the risk of members of the public attempting to carry out rescues themselves and potentially putting themselves in danger.

“We would always remind people of the importance of regularly checking on their animals and to make sure that where your horse lives is secure and free from hazards, this includes ensuring fences are in good condition and escape-proof.”

Kent Fire and Rescue Service has been called out 17 times in the last two years to rescue animals in the Ashford borough. Incidents include:

  • February 6, 2016: A horse trapped in water and boggy ground in Norman Road close to the Designer Outlet.
  • February 9, 2016: A trapped bird in Oxen Lease, Singleton.
  • March 23, 2016: A trapped bird in Bank Street.
  • April 4, 2016: A trapped horse in Warehorne Road.
  • June 2, 2016: A horse trapped in water and boggy ground in Romney Marsh Road.
  • June 11, 2016: A trapped sheep in Marsh Road.
  • July 19, 2016: A dog trapped at height in Barrow Hill Terrace.
  • September 1, 2016: A sheep trapped in water and boggy ground in Norman Road.
  • September 14, 2016: A cow and sheep trapped in water and boggy ground in High Halden.
  • March 9, 2017: A collapsed horse in Crundale.
  • April 15, 2017: A horse trapped in water and boggy ground in Kimberley Way.
  • April 28, 2017: A horse trapped in water and boggy ground in Wissenden Lane.
  • June 3, 2017: A cat stuck in a tree in Evergreen Way.
  • June 19, 2017: A cat trapped at height in Blue Field.
  • October 11, 2017: A horse trapped in water and boggy ground in Rolvenden.
  • October 26, 2017: A cat trapped at height in Beatrice Hills Close.
  • November 17, 2017: A donkey trapped in water and boggy ground in Bethersden.

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