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Last Updated: Friday, 12 October 2007, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK
Deaf, blind dog search abandoned
Sprogget
Sprogget disappeared out walking with his owner on Wednesday
The search for an 18-year-old deaf and blind dog trapped down a deep hole in old mine workings in south Wales for two days has been called off.

Sprogget vanished into the hole on British Mountain near Pontypool, Torfaen on Wednesday.

Rescuers had used a remote camera and worked into the night in attempts to reach the Jack Russell cross but no sound could be heard of him on Friday.

His owner said he was upset but had "little doubt" he was dead.

Sprogget disappeared while walking with his owner New Zealander David Sampford at lunchtime on Wednesday.

It was thought the hole, which Sprogget had fallen into, opened up on top of the old workings from the former Six Bells colliery nearby.

Rescue team on the hill
The rescue team has tried to reach Sprogget

Initially, the fire service and RSPCA were called to help find the animal, but after one night underground the search team was extended.

An excavator dug to several metres down around the hole on Thursday until rescuers could hear the dog whimpering.

Then a team of 15 including miners from the local Black Barn colliery volunteered to try to reach Sprogget by digging with picks and shovels and lighting the scene with their mining lamps and a generator.

Before they left on Friday night rescuers dropped chocolate bars and crisps down the fissure to try to sustain him through a second night underground.

But on Friday morning when they returned there was no sound of the dog and it was decided to call it off.

Mr Sampford, who has had Sprogget since he was 12, said: "We are going to get the RSPCA to make sure, because there's still a little doubt in my mind but it looks as if he is dead.

"I just want to make sure before they fill the hole in. I will have to tell my family soon and we'll have to move on. I am upset."

He praised rescue workers.

"The effort they've put in here is as if they were trying to rescue a human, let alone a dog. They've done a really good job."

Mike Doyle, a regional engineer for the Coal Authority, said: "The guys put CCTV cameras down there and we haven't been able to see him, so with not knowing if he was alive or not, there was no point continuing.

"Last night we could hear him quite loudly and knew that he was in there somewhere but the reality of it is that the stone was quite dense and it was taking an hour to excavate a metre."



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See the rescue effort on the hillside



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