Lifestyle & Human Interest

Horse Found Stuck in Dumpster, Firefighters Use Forklift & Harness To Get It Out


When you own animals, you see a lot of interesting things. Animals certainly don’t process the world around them the same way we do. Sometimes that gives them the advantage, but many times it puts them at a disadvantage.

We have to look out for critters, especially the ones in our charge, to make sure they don’t experience any unnecessary danger.

But sometimes, even the keenest eyes and most accident-preventative minds can’t foresee some of the poor choices our pets might make. And that goes for pets of all sizes.

Owners of horses boarded at a stable in Huntington Beach, California, were shocked to find one of the stable’s tenants standing in a dumpster on Friday, Jan. 18. The horse, named Rodeo, had certainly gotten himself into a pickle.

The Orange County Fire Authority Heavy Rescue Team was called in to assist the Huntington Beach Fire Department at around 2:30 p.m. Everyone was puzzling over how the horse got into the dumpster and how they were going to get it out again.

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“Today at approximately 2:30 pm HBFD units responded to a large animal rescue,” the Huntington Beach Fire Department posted on Jan. 18. “Units on scene found a horse stuck inside of a small dumpster.

“The Orange County Fire Authority Heavy Rescue Team was called to assist due to their training in large animal rescue. HB and OCFA teams formulated a plan and successfully removed the horse from the dumpster.”

Has your pet ever gotten stuck in a weird place?

“Also on scene was a large animal veterinarian who assisted in sedating the horse to prevent further injury. The horse sustained minor injuries and no rescuers were injured. Thanks to the OCFA for the assistance.”

It was crucial that the horse was sedated, as the dozens of people that descended upon the scene, the large vehicles pulling up and the eventual helicopter that circled the scene were all things that are known to scare some horses and could have led to the horse panicking and injuring itself.

While the horse was standing in the dumpster, it didn’t appear to be injured, just quite stuck. The rescue teams decided to strap up the horse and lift it out using a forklift, which eventually succeeded in putting the horse back on solid ground at about 5 p.m.

After it was freed, a veterinarian was scheduled to evaluate the horse, but the horse was able to walk away from the scene without any major visible injuries.

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Best as anyone can figure, the horse snuck out of its pen and walked out onto the ramp leading up to the dumpsters. The platform you can see in the videos and photos is where owners roll wheelbarrows full of droppings after mucking out stalls.

The ramp and platform make it easy to wheel and deposit the cargo of yuck in the dumpsters below. Unfortunately, the solid lid of the dumpster must have looked solid enough for the horse to venture out on, and you can figure out the rest.

Thanks to the fire crew Rodeo is now unstuck and will probably give dumpsters a wide berth from now on.

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