Late on 31 March we were called to an incident in the Paignton area with reports of a bullock stuck in a swimming pool.
The homeowners were surprised to find a young bullock in their swimming pool after he decided to leave his field in favour of a late-night swim.
Teams from Torquay, Paignton, Buckfastleigh were joined by a specialist rescue team from Exmouth Fire Station to help rescue the animal.
We had to pump some water from the pool to enable the bull (all 600kg of him!) to put his feet down. When we started pumping out the water the bull seemed to swim along the pool and investigate the pump!
Once the specialist animal team from Exmouth arrived, we all got together to discuss the best way to remove him from the pool, providing the least stressful way for the bullock and the safest option for our crews. Large animal rescues can be very dangerous due to the unpredictable behaviour of animals, so crew safety is paramount. A vet was also on hand to check the bullock's welfare throughout.
Crews fed webbing strops under the bullock after getting him in the corner of the pool, then we brought in a telehandler to lift him out comfortably. Whilst this was happening, a local farmer positioned a cattle trailer ready for him to be put straight in.
The operation went very smoothly. The bull was lifted, moved to the trailer, and was then held in the harness for a few minutes until he could support himself again. By this time, he had been in the pool for three to four hours and was very cold, with obviously numb legs.
The harness we use provides the ability for the cow to stand just weight-bearing, but still supported by the telehandler, where we can then pull a toggle mechanism from outside the penned off area by the trailer. This means the harness just falls to the ground and the bull can walk away, keeping our firefighters safer.
A smooth and professional rescue.