TAVARES — Thanks to the aid of Lake County Animal Services, an Astatula ranch owner’s injured horse is expected to fully recover from an accident. Grateful for their service, the resident donated $1,000 to the operation of Animal Services.
After receiving an emergency call to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, Animal Control Officers Bonnie Loomis, Amber Teeter and Melanie Ellixson were dispatched to the home of Celena Richards to help rescue her thoroughbred gelding from almost complete immersion in a mud pit.
“The only part of the horse that could be seen was the upper portion of his neck and head,” said Eric Anderson, supervisor with the Lake County Solid Waste Division. “The horse had been there all night and since it was almost 4 in the afternoon, the horse was dehydrated and in shock.”
The officers needed assistance, so they called Anderson and Debbie Fore, supervisors with the Lake County Solid Waste Division, who came to the scene with slings and rope. Evaluating the situation, they decided the only way to rescue the horse with the equipment on hand was to improvise a three-sling rigging for the horse, and use a four-wheel-drive truck to extricate the helpless animal from the mud. After the sling was safely fastened in several places on the horse’s body, they began to slowly pull him out of the mud – about 90 minutes after the initial emergency call.
“As he started to move, he was able to take a step and his right-rear-leg sank all the way to his leg joint, and his other three legs collapsed beneath him,” Anderson recounted. “Working quickly, the straps were readjusted to facilitate a forward pull, and the horse was dragged to the shore. Then we rinsed out his eyes and mouth, and helped him to his feet.”
Dr. David Malone, a local veterinarian, advised Diane Hagan, technician with Animal Services, to administer IV fluids until his arrival.
“The muck was like quicksand and very dangerous, with water moccasins … your dedicated staff … acted fast and with experience … they stayed calm and worked quickly,” Richards wrote to county officials. “I credit the experience of the staff and responders for saving my horse. He is part of my family and losing him that way would have been devastating … Thank you so much. I could in no way ever have gotten him out by myself.”
“I don’t think you will find a more compassionate, loving and caring bunch of people anywhere,” Anderson said. “Lake County Animal Services rocks, and I was blessed to be asked to assist.”
For more information about Lake County Animal Services, call 352-343-9688 or visit http://www.lakecountyfl.gov/departments/conservation_and_compliance/animal_services/.