The rescue of a stallion by a team of first responders who pulled him from the icy Monocacy Creek in Amity Township has ended on a sad note.
Amity police announced Thursday night that Smalls the horse had to be euthanized due to his deteriorating condition. The announcement on the department's Facebook page was met with an outpouring of sadness and disappointment.
On Wednesday, Smalls was pulled from the creek with the help of a team consisting of members of the Boyertown-based Keystone Water Rescue, Amity Township Public Works Department, police and volunteers from several fire companies and appeared to be on his way to have turned the corner in his recovery.
"The horse is incredibly up and standing on his own, as well as munching on some hay," Police Chief Jeff Smith posted Wednesday evening, giving kudos to all who took part in the complicated rescue.
But on Thursday evening, Smith delivered the sad news.
"Unfortunately, due to his deteriorating condition, Smalls had to be put down this afternoon," he wrote. "Not the outcome anyone wanted, but he put up a tough fight. Our thoughts and prayers are with Smalls and his owner! RIP Smalls."
Smalls had slipped from a pasture into the creek behind his owner's large lot along Galahad Lane, near Monocacy Creek Road, and was in the water for hours.
Crews were dispatched shortly before 8 a.m. after someone saw the animal in the water up to his neck.
It took awhile to orchestrate a rescue.
The township public works department was requested to bring a backhoe to assist with hoisting the stallion.
Representatives of an animal rescue group responded as did Western Berks EMS and several veterinarians.
A diver with the Keystone Water Rescue team rigged a harness around the horse with tow straps borrowed from Harner’s Auto Body Inc. on nearby Benjamin Franklin Highway.
The rigging was anchored to the backhoe on the bank of the creek.
Smalls was too weak to walk when he was hoisted from the creek after a three-hour rescue operation and was hauled via the backhoe to the barn.
Once in the barn, officials said, veterinarians and Western Berks medics provided intravenous fluid to the horse.
First responders hung tarps from the barn walls to help keep the barn heated.
Smalls' body temperature was slowly rising during the day and he began eating. Though he had various scrapes and bruises, it was thought he would survive, police said.
The sad post about Small’s passing was shared 169 times as of 11 a.m. Friday, with many comments offering their condolences to the owner, who wasn’t identified.