HEREFORD & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) was called to Foxhill Lane in Alvechurch at 9am on Wednesday, October 24 following reports that a dog had been trapped underground in a badger’s sett for four days.
A rescue crew from the Service’s USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) team at Droitwich attended with their off-road multi-purpose vehicle, arriving at the scene to be met by representatives from the RSPCA and English Heritage, who have to give permission before a badger’s sett can be disturbed.
Crew Commander Phil Ball from USAR explained how the team identified a series of entrances to the sett and then used their seismic and acoustic detection equipment to pinpoint the location of the dog, called Boh, underground.
He said: “Using an acoustic listening probe, we could hear the sound of heavy breathing which we were pretty sure was an animal in distress, rather than simply a badger inside its sett.
"We then used a ‘snake eye’ camera and we were able to locate the dog in a 10ft-long tunnel around 4ft below the ground.”
Taking care to cause the minimum disruption to the sett, crews assisted the landowner and the owner of the dog as they removed earth to reach the dog who was then carefully lifted out of the hole, with a rabbit still in its mouth.
Crew Commander Ball added: “It would seem that the dog, a 23-month-old border terrier called Boh, had become trapped in the sett with the rabbit wedged in its mouth. This had made it impossible for the dog to breathe through its mouth and so had been struggling to breathe through its nose, hence the laboured breathing we could hear with our detection equipment.“
He confirmed that the dog was hungry and dehydrated and had an infection in one eye, but has since been taken to the vet, given fluids and antibiotics, and is expected to make a full recovery.