Crews Train for Large Animal Rescue Scenarios

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SACRAMENTO — Here’s the scenario: Lucky the horse has gotten himself in a pickle. He’s wounded and he’s stranded. And the problem of how to get him out starts with the question, who’s getting him out?

“This is the first time that a local veterinarian center, along with several different fire departments, have all worked together,” said Metro Fire Captain Chris Vestal.

The vets know horses. The fire departments know rescues. The idea here is to build a lasting bridge between the two professions so they can collaborate to help a large animal — like a cow or a horse — in distress.

“It happens fairly frequently, actually. And it depends on the terrain and the environment. Here in this area, it happens fairly frequently,” said Cheryl Ellis with Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center.

Meet Lucky. He’s the practice dummy, brought in for these exercises. Sure he’s not long on personality, but he’s a pretty good teacher. And at Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center, they hope he has a long tenure.

Thursday’s training is a first step in their vision of developing a large animal emergency response network that could be mobilized for just one rescue or in a wide-scale emergency like a wildfire.

“I’d love to have an army of evacuation trailers, staffed by volunteers that are trained,” Ellis said.

And Thursday was a first step toward showing that team the ropes.

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