Rescue for dog in wombat hole

Dog called Brooklyn stuck in a wombat hole for three days

PEOPLE power and Shoalhaven’s community spirit is shining with the rescue of Brooklyn on Friday.

For three days the canine companion of a homeless man stuck in a wombat hole at Ben's Walk captured Australia.

Hearts were broken when emergency services decided to call off the dig on Friday afternoon.

The decision sparked a community outcry.

Hundreds of people rallied together bringing shovels to the site to find the dog. They brought lights and tools and dug a hole about seven metres deep before pulling him out, alive, at about 10.45pm on Friday.

For the fist time in three days his owner Charlie Griffith was able to hug his best mate.

The extraordinary news and efforts of the people are being celebrated while Brooklyn, who was immediately transported to a local veterinarian for treatment, is recovering suffering from a little dehydration.

Nowra Veterinary Hospital confirmed Brooklyn was doing very well.

They said he came out the other end of the ordeal “virtually unscathed”. 

Brooklyn will be taken to the RSPCA Shoalhaven Shelter on Saturday afternoon where he will be cared for and monitored for a few days before being reunited with his owner.

The result has proven to locals that when times are tough the community is willing to come together and in doing so achieve amazing results.

Charlie Griffith’s mother, who is living in far north Queensland, said she was overwhelmed by the generosity and caring nature of the South Coast community.

“It’s a community that wouldn’t give up,” she said.

“If they didn’t do what they did it would have taken days for Brooklyn to die down there.

“I’ve never experienced such an act of giving from people before, it is unbelievable and I just want to publicly thank everyone for their help.”

Ms Griffith said she was hopeful a home would be found for Charlie and his dogs so he could be reunited with his animals and move from the Nowra Showground. 

“I’m so appreciative. Thank you isn’t enough.”

Success: Brooklyn being carried after he was dug out of a wombat hole at Ben's Walk. Photo: Trudz Buhlz

Success: Brooklyn being carried after he was dug out of a wombat hole at Ben's Walk. Photo: Trudz Buhlz

The wombat which was believed to have been in the hole with Brooklyn was not located. It has been assumed the animal used one of the three other exit points to the burrow to escape.

Wildlife Rescue South Coast assessed the situation at 9.30am on Friday morning and continued to dig for the dog, however assessments throughout the day led to the decision to end the rescue at about 3pm on Friday.

Barks from Brooklyn were audible around 8.30am on day three of the rescue dig.

Fire and Rescue NSW station officer Ian Walters said after a consultation with police and other resources they had decided to withdraw.

“We’ve assessed the safety of our firefighters and the dwindling chance of survival of the dog and the resources put into it,” he said.

“It’s certainly not the outcome we were after.”

Fire and Rescue NSW Batemans Bay superintendent David Lewis said during his 26 year career he had never seen a rescue like it.

“We’ve been using seismic camera and listening devices and with that we’ve heard nothing to suggest that the dog is still alive,” he said. 

“We’ve brought resources down from both Sydney and Wollongong where we have our USAR [Urban search and rescue] team as well as using equipment from Shoalhaven Water, so we’ve done everything that’s humanly possible to try and find this dog.

“We’ve had to make a call at some stage and it’s unfortunate we’ve had to make that call.”

Shoalhaven City Council will cover the holes from the excavated site in coming days.

NSW Ambulance notified Fire and Rescue NSW, who took charge of the dig, about the progress of the search before the dig continued on Friday morning.

It was just the night before exhausted and disappointed emergency workers were forced to make the call to stop digging at about 7.30pm on Thursday night to pack up due to dangerous working conditions.

No audible sounds had been heard from the dog for about four hours before the decision was made.

The two-day operation involved the SES, NSW Ambulance, Wildlife Rescue South Coast and Shoalhaven Water used a $30,000 optic fibre camera in an attempt to find the pooch’s exact location of the dog, but with no luck.

NSW Ambulance Rescue paramedic Anthony Chater said it wasn’t the outcome they hoped for on Thursday night.

“There’s several offshoots to the burrow and there’s several blind spots for the cameras, so we can’t pinpoint where the dog and the wombat is,” he said.

“The guys did a great job. Volunteers and emergency service workers put in a fantastic effort.”

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