Dog rescued from bottom of 15ft concrete shaft in Stockton 'would have drowned'

Julia Barthram has been to meet Badger following his dramatic rescue.

A dog was "miraculously" saved after being found by a dog walker down a 15ft hole.

Badger, a grey and white crossbreed, fell down the concrete shaft on wasteland known locally as Phoenix Sidings in Stockton-on-Tees.

The RSPCA believe he could have been down the shaft for as long as a week before he was found by a curious dog walker who spotted that the lid to a large hole in the ground was partially open, looking down to see Badger stuck at the bottom.

“It was a complete stroke of luck that the man was in the area as he never walked his dogs there before," said RSPCA inspector Steph Baines.

"It’s also incredibly lucky that he was interested enough to peer into the hole. But the biggest miracle is that he even spotted the animal at the bottom of the shaft because it was incredibly dark and very deep.

“When he called us he believed it was a badger stranded in the contaminated water at the bottom of the shaft.

"When we arrived we could only just see the animal but couldn’t be sure so we took a video that was zoomed right in and spotted that it was in fact a dog.”

Badger was saved with the help of Cleveland Fire Brigade. Credit: RSPCA

Badger was rescued from the hole with the help of Cleveland Fire Brigade, who entered the narrow shaft and placed two fire hoses around him.

"We managed to get some of the hose under his chest and some under his hips, like a sling; made sure he was safe and then carefully lifted him up and out of the shaft," Inspector Raine added.

"As we all believed he was initially a badger we decided to name him Badger.

“Badger was utterly exhausted when we finally reached him. If the man hadn’t found him when he did and we didn’t get him out so quickly, I have no doubt that he sadly would have drowned.

“He was up to his neck and could barely keep his head above the water. He was giving up in front of our eyes and it was a real race against time.”

Badger is currently being looked after by vets and the RSPCA hope to help him return home. Credit: RSPCA

A fundraiser has now been launched for Badger as the veterinary care he is said to need is likely to become expensive.

Following his rescue, vets found Badger's skin and mouth had been blistered by the contaminated water.

Initially he also needed to be fed using a feeding tube.

The online fundraiser said any donation regardless of its size would make a difference. It added: "Badger will be extremely grateful to be able to live a full, happy life with your help."

The RSPCA are now on the search for his owners as they look to help him return home.

Badger was wearing a leather collar with brass studs and a black leather lead when he was found. Officers believe he may have run off during a walk when he fell into the hole. He is microchipped but the chip is not registered.

“Badger is lucky to be alive and he’s really lovely - a friendly, gentle giant," Inspector Baines said. "There must be someone out there who is missing him and wondering where he’s gone.

“Please contact our appeal line on 0300 123 8018 if you know where he may have come from. We’d love to reunite him with his family.”

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