Horse rescued from septic tank in NE Portland - KPTV - FOX 12

Horse rescued from septic tank in NE Portland

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Portland firefighters used a rope pulley system to rescue a quarter horse from an old septic tank.

The horse, named Roxy, somehow fell in the tank in the backyard of a home on the 9500 block NE 13th Avenue Monday afternoon.

"My husband comes out yelling, 'She's in, she's in the tank, she's in the tank,'" said Martha Johnston, Roxy's owner.  "She was clear up to her neck in the tank and we couldn't even begin to get her out. We got shovels and tried, but..."

Roxy was trapped in the narrow hole, with only her head and a front hoof sticking out. Her breathing was labored.

"She was struggling so hard. I had my husband get a towel and put it over her face, her eyes," said Johnston, who said she had no idea there was an old septic tank beneath her yard.

Portland firefighters arrived and immediately called in Portland fire's rope rescue crew to help with the daunting task.

While some firefighters shoveled dirt out of the way, others got a rope around Roxy and a tree and pulled her free. It took the rope rescue crew less than 10 minutes to free Roxy, but the horse was in the hole for at least 30 minutes.

SLIDESHOW: Horse pulled from septic tank

"The biggest challenge, the horse was pretty heavy," said Josh Minor, a firefighter. "And she was in just a cylinder hole, so she wasn't able to get out by herself. We pretty much had to tie an anchor to a tree to pull all of her weight out. She wasn't able to assist us at all."

Minor once rescued a horse stuck in a stable window, but said that was nothing compared to helping Roxy.

The worry didn't stop once Roxy was freed. Johnston worried the horse, who turns 34 on April 15, was injured or would go into shock.

Roxy was on her side for a few minutes after being pulled from the tank. Johnston and firefighters then helped her stand and walk around the yard.

A cut to her front left leg appears to be Roxy's only injury. Johnston expects her to make a full recovery. A vet examined the horse and gave her antibiotics.

"Oh, she has taught more kids to ride than you would believe, probably than any other horse in the world," said Johnston. "I'm just so excited that she's OK."

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