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Sunny the Horse Rescued in Sunland

Friday, August 9, 2019

Sunny, a 30 year old male horse had a long night stranded on a Sunland hillside but thanks to the coordinated efforts of all involved, he is now resting safely in his corral.

At 6:41AM the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to reports of a horse stranded on a hillside in the 11300 block of N Oro Vista in Sunland.  Firefighters arrived to find Sunny laying approximately 30 feet down a 45 degree hillside. His owner believes he fell down the hillside from his corral at around 3AM.  Although he did not appear to be seriously injured, the aged horse was clearly exhausted from his efforts to upright himself.

Over 15 firefighters made multiple efforts to assist Sunny in standing, to no avail.  While LAFD crews comforted Sunny and awaited the arrival of the LA Animal Services “Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team” (SMART), LAFD Air Ops worked with the General Services Division to remove the water dropping tank from Fire 2 in order to expose the hook which is capable of hoisting the 1,000 pound horse.

Once the veterinarian from SMART arrived and medicated Sunny to keep him calm during the operation, firefighters and SMART members put the harness and hoist equipment on him.  Fire 2 was outfitted with a 100 foot rope used for the short haul hoist.  Once in place over Sunny, the line was attached and Fire 2 lifted him into the air.  Sunny was then lowered and safely placed on the ground in his corral where SMART members provided him IV fluids to help him recover from the experience. The veterinarian on scene initially believed Sunny was not injured but only dehydrated and exhausted from the effort due to his advanced age.  This likely proved to be true as Sunny was up and walking unassisted after a bit of a recovery period.

This type of technical operation takes time to execute safely and requires the closely coordinated efforts of all involved. Over 50 LAFD firefighters, under the command of Battalion Chief Albert Ward, worked with the SMART members from LA Animal Services to ensure Sunny was in the best of care during the entire operation. 

Video by LAFD Captain Erik Scott

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