Local canine rescued from fall down 50-foot hole

Published: March 20th, 2012

Category: Blog

Dr. Clemmons and Joe are lifted from the hole.

Dr. Clemmons and Joe are lifted from the hole.

How big is a large animal for technical rescue?  Fortunately for Joe the Springer Spaniel – it’s about 50 lbs.

Friday afternoon was a great day for Joe and his owner to play in the park in Jonesville – until he found a hidden hole and fell approximately 50 feet.

When the Alachua County Fire Rescue Service (ACFRS) responded to the emergency call, they requested mutual aid from the UF Veterinary Emergency Treatment Service (UF VETS).  The UF VETS team, led by college director John Haven, specializes in high angle technical rescue and was uniquely equipped to rescue Joe.  While only tipping the scales at 50 pounds Joe is one of the smaller emergency victims assisted through technical rescue, the UF VETS Team did have a sling designed for canines.

On the scene, the UF VETS team rallied together with officers from ACFRS, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Alachua County Animal Control, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation to quickly and safely return Joe to his owner. Dr. Roger Clemmons, who performed the actual rescue of Joe, was lowered down into the hole, where he performed a quick assessment of Joe and then secured him in a rescue harness.

While scared, Joe was a cooperative victim as he was strapped into the special canine rescue harness.

Joe is reunited with his owners after the rescue.

Joe is reunited with his owners after the rescue.

Riding at Dr. Clemmons’ knees, both Dr. Clemmons and Joe were smoothly lifted back up the hole, where Joe was happily reunited with his owner. While he appeared no worse for his adventure, Joe was taken by the owner to UF Small Animal Hospital’s Emergency Service for medical evaluation.

The UF VETS team also recently coordinated the rescue of “Midnight” the horse from a mud flat in Paynes Prairie.  UF VETS is an all-volunteer and donation-supported team. If you would like to make a donation to support their efforts, please contact John Haven at havenj@ufl.edu.

Read more about the rescue in the Gainesville Sun.


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