A bull weighing 1,500 pounds fell down a concrete-structured well filled with eight feet of water in a suburb of Sacramento. But the bull managed to stand on two legs and peer over the top of the cistern looking something like a periscope. By chance, an off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer driving by saw the bull’s head peering out of the well. The CHP officer alerted Metro firefighters, the Heavy Rescue Company Battalion from Sacramento Metro Fire District, and veterinarians from the University of California, Davis. Soon the team of firefighters and veterinarians working together rescued the bull.
Fortunately, the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District firefighters and veterinarians from the University of California, Davis train together on techniques needed to rescue large animals such as horses and cows. The focus is on rescuing animals from situations where they can’t get out such as wells, sewers, collapsed structures, wood, concrete, rivers, chimneys, tree tops, poles, pipes, behind brick walls, sinkholes, cisterns, ice, traps, and other tight spots. The firefighters learn animal behavior and traits as well as techniques for lifting heavy animals or small ones from dire circumstances.
Check out the July 26, 2012 Sacramento Bee article by Bill Lindelof, “Metro firefighters, Davis veterinarians rescue bull from well.” The 1,500-pound rodeo bull fell into the cistern, which is a large well around eight-feet deep and filled with water. The cistern supplies livestock water troughs in pasture along Old Placerville Road near White Rock Road.
The Sacramento Bee as a catalyst bringing people together now has informed readers through the Sacramento Bee’s article that if someone is trapped and needs to be rescued, the public needs to call the Heavy Rescue Company from Sac Metro after calling 911. The idea is the correct agency for rescuing trapped people or animals has been named by the media. This is different from rescuing or finding missing or lost people. Trapped means covered under a pile of concrete or wood, caught in a chimney, or fallen down a well or cistern, to mention some examples. Think of a horse who falls through the ice or down a hole.
The Heavy Rescue Company from Sac Metro rescues people and animals from collapsed structures, trenches, water, and confined spaces. If a person or animal becomes trapped, the Heavy Rescue Company from Sac Metro (Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District) deals with the situation.
The firefighters also train with the University of California, Davis Veterinary School’s Veterinary Emergency Response team which also assists with animal rescue situations. For example, an animal thrashing around may need to be sedated just a little but not so much that it slips under the water. That takes the expertise of a veterinary team to judge how much sedative needed to calm an animal such as the bull.
Frequently horses become trapped in tight spaces. The firefighters work with the veterinarians to rescue large animals such as horses and cows using ropes and slings to live those heavy animals who can’t free themselves from a dangerous situation.
The well was filled with eight feet of water
The rescuers found the bull standing on his hind legs peering just above the water, trying to get free. But the bull couldn’t climb out of a well. First the veterinarian evaluated the bull and secured the horns to a tow truck. The veterinarian sedated the bull to keep it quiet, but not drowsy. A sleepy bull could slip below the water.
Next, the veterinarians and team put a sling under the bull’s torso. A tow truck lifted the bull as the sling tightened. Finally, the tow lifted the bull out of the well and moved far enough from the cistern so that it wouldn’t run wildly and fall back into it again.
The bull also had to be moved far enough out of the path of the rescuers on the ground. The bull didn’t charge the rescuers, though. Instead, it went in the opposite direction down the hill to join it’s familiar herd. The next step is for a county employee to take a look at the well because it needs to be covered or protected in some way that another animal or person doesn’t also stumble into the well.
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