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Video: Calif. firefighters save horse wedged upside-down in narrow gully

Los Angeles Animal Services’ Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team and the LAFD Urban Search and Rescue team worked together


Photo/Los Angeles Fire Department


SYLMAR, Calif. — A beautiful horse named Poncho is safe today thanks to city firefighters and animal services experts who calmed the terrified horse and dug it out of a narrow gully in Sylmar near Olive View-UCLA Medical Center at 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 7.

Experts from the Los Angeles Animal Services’ Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team (SMART) joined the L.A. Fire Department’s (LAFD) Urban Search and Rescue team to save Poncho. Poncho’s rider was uninjured. Brian Humphrey, LAFD spokesman, said on Monday that the city’s animal services experts “brought great knowledge to calm the horse.”

Thanks to them, the firefighters managed to get a rope around the horse’s neck and dug the soil around him to carefully to get Poncho onto his side. “We were honored to work alongside the city’s Animal Services Department,” Humphrey said, as the two teams worked quickly to get Poncho out.

LAFD Air Operations got a visual confirmation of the horse’s location as firefighters made the hike in carrying hand tools. Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces from Fire Station 88 and 89 responded to conduct the “technical rescue.”

Because a hoist rescue was impossible — given that Poncho was upside-down on his back — a horse rescue specialist, from the city’s SMART team, worked with the firefighters to devise a plan using “strategically digging around him” to free the thankful animal.

Freeing Poncho: More LAFD photos are here


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