80.3 F
Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, July 16, 2024


A community effort Tuesday afternoon helped rescue a pregnant horse and its colt trapped since Saturday night in an abandoned cistern in La Vallee.
The horse was rescued Tuesday by V.I. Fire Service crews from the Richmond station, Bates Trucking, GEC Inc. and Dr. David Martinez of the V.I. Dept. of Agriculture. The effort was coordinated by the St. Croix Animal Shelter.
"These guys did a terrific job in a dangerous and difficult situation," said Mary Edwards, the shelter's executive director.
The horse's six-month-old colt also fell into the cistern Tuesday afternoon as it tried to get closer to its mother, Edwards said. The animals fell into the cistern through a table-sized opening; rescuers knocked a hole in the side of the structure to gain access. The rescue crew then lifted the horses out using a crane.
Rescue efforts were hampered because the property has been abandoned for some time and was heavily overgrown with small trees and bush.
"The Animal Shelter is often called to remove animals from abandoned cisterns," Edwards said. "This should be a warning for property owners who are building or have partially completed structures to check their property for such hazards as open cisterns. This time it was a horse — some day it might be a child."
Edwards pointed out the Animal Shelter’s role in coordinating the rescue, saying that without the nonprofit organization there is virtually no enforcement of animal control regulations on the island.
"That’s a good reason to reconsider and reinstate the Animal Shelter's animal control contract which lapsed in October of 1999, due to lack of funding." she said. "We got involved in this rescue because it was the right thing to do."
By early evening Tuesday, mother and colt were taking a well-earned rest and enjoying their first taste of fresh grass in four days.

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