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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 January, 2004, 21:11 GMT
Dog rescued by mechanical digger
Firefighters called in the services of a mechanical digger to rescue a dog trapped in a rabbit warren for six hours.

Titch, a five-year-old Jack Russell, was walking with his owner Penny Parry near St Briavels, Gloucestershire, when he darted down a hole.

Mrs Parry, who saw her mischievous pet disappear into the ground, spent two hours shouting to him to encourage him to return to the surface before calling the fire brigade.

Ten firefighters arrived and - armed with spades, pickaxes and the digger - spent four hours working to free the dog.

Big cheer

Mrs Parry said: "He just dashed off and disappeared. I knew he couldn't get out as he's usually quite chicken and wouldn't want to explore on his own.

"He was whimpering and I could tell he was stuck so after much calling I went home and phoned the fire brigade."

A big cheer went up when firefighters unearthed Titch, after digging some 20 feet.

Mrs Parry added: "It was such a relief - he was unharmed and perfect, but extremely dirty and very scared as there was a lot of noise, a lot of men and a generator."

Titch is now back to normal but being kept on a lead after the ordeal last Wednesday.

The fire service spokesman said the rescue procedure was delayed for RSPCA officers to verify that the hole was not a badger's sett, which they could not have disturbed.

He said: "A nearby JCB vehicle was used to speed up the excavation as it is always a race against time when an animal is in distress. Thankfully it was successful on this occasion."

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