St Ives sheep rescue a thankless task

AT lunchtime last Tuesday I was riding my bike through the Dolphin meadow along by the river bank in St Ives, when all of a sudden my dog Bruno stopped and barked. I went back and saw a sheep stuck in the water, unable to get back to the river bank. I tri

AT lunchtime last Tuesday I was riding my bike through the Dolphin meadow along by the river bank in St Ives, when all of a sudden my dog Bruno stopped and barked. I went back and saw a sheep stuck in the water, unable to get back to the river bank.

I tried to ring the Environment Agency, but my company mobile phone could not access the number. About 20 minutes had now passed, so I rang 999. The police lady on the phone was most helpful, and I told her I would stay with my dog and the sheep until somebody came. She promised to pass on the details to the relevant department.

About 15 minutes later I had a call back to say this had now been passed on to the fire service, and in due course I heard sirens and saw them going over St Ives bypass and then pull into the Dolphin car park.

One fireman stated to walk by the riverbank, and I had a call from the fire service asking me to walk towards the fireman because they could not see me. We walked back to the sheep, while he radioed the units and asked for wet suits to go in behind the sheep.


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So three firemen, all dressed in their wading gear, started to walk across to us (about a mile). As the guys in the wading gear were getting very close, the farmer and his wife turned up, walked past everyone with a rope and a fork-like thing. The fireman looked at me and wondered why the farmer did not let the fire service deal with it since they were there.

At this point the farmer puts a rope round the sheep's neck and pulled the poor thing with all his might, with his wife also pulling. Immediately, the firemen in wading gear turned up after their walk. The sheep was pretty much on the bank, dazed and confused.

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The farmer still not said a word of thanks to anyone. All the firemen said a very big thank you to me for firstly staying with the sheep to keep an eye on it and ringing to report it.

I went off on my bike with my dog on lead. After about half a mile I let it off - and he only ran back to the sheep and was chasing it round and round the field. I called him off but the farmer's wife shouted and took a swing at him with her fork.

I had to remind her that, had it not been for Bruno, the sheep might still have been in the water and died. Neither she nor the farmer made any comment, but the look on the fire crew's faces said it all.

RICHARD SEYMOUR

Greenfields

St Ives

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