A heifer who fell into a river in Devon and was washed downstream was saved after a two hour rescue mission.

RSPCA animal welfare officer Steve Donohue rushed to the fields off Pennsylvania Road in Exeter on Tuesday night (August 18).

He said: “The heifer had fallen into the river and been washed downstream along the River Exe tributary.

“Debris from the storm had pinned her against the bank so she was struggling to get out and couldn’t keep her head above the six foot deep water.”

Steve met the caller at the scene and located the Friesian heifer. Due to the fast-flowing water and the dangerous conditions, he called the fire and rescue service for support.

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“A crew came and called in support from their specialist water and animal rescue team,” Steve said.

“I got into the water in my dry-suit and managed to get a line around her. Then we performed a front-assist rescue by pulling her free and up the bank.

“She was absolutely exhausted but, thankfully, wasn’t injured. We took the fence down and got her back into her field before building the fence again and contacting the farmer to let him know what had happened.

“She could have drowned and she was incredibly lucky to have been spotted and rescued. I’m so pleased we were able to save her life and I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who was involved.”

The 12-strong team spent more than two hours rescuing the heifer and it was gone midnight by the time they left the scene.

If you see an animal in trouble please contact the RSPCA’s emergency hotline on 0300 1234 999.