It took a dedicated team of firefighters, an animal control officer and a veterinarian to free a raccoon that was trapped in a sewer grate last month in Newton, Massachusetts.
A bicyclist first spotted the raccoon with its head peering helplessly out of one of the grate’s square-shaped holes and called the Newton Fire Department, according to The Washington Post.
Capt. Eric Fricke sent a team that the fire department believed would be the best equipped to handle the tricky situation.
Armed with dish soap and a soft-spraying water hose, the team thought the rescue operation would be fairly straightforward.
But the tried-and-true dish soap lubrication method was not working. Soapy and slippery, the terrified animal continued to struggle, and firefighters knew they needed backup.
The ordeal ended up taking about two hours with the help of Animal Control Officer Deanna Gualtieri from Waltham and veterinarian Adam Boardman from Massachusetts Animal Medical Center.
“It was quite the operation,” the fire department wrote on Twitter.
We were able to rescue a juvenile raccoon today with help from Waltham’s Animal Control. He had been stuck for a while but we are happy to report he is free!!! #newtonfire #nfd #newtonma pic.twitter.com/q7CYEQCCWZ
— Newton Fire (@NewtonFireDept) August 1, 2019
The team decided to open up the sewer grate in the hopes that the animal would be able to free itself once its paws were firmly planted back on the ground.
Still, the raccoon’s neck remained wedged in the square-shaped hole.
With all other options exhausted, the rescue team decided that sedation would be the safest way to free the raccoon.
“The raccoon ended up needing to be sedated so that it could relax enough,” Fricke told The Post. “It was fighting the whole process.”
Once the scared creature was calm and relaxed, rescuers maneuvered its at just the right angle to push its head back through the hole.
Waltham Animal Control assumed responsibility for the raccoon until its medication wore off, NBC News reported.
“Everybody’s just happy that there was a positive outcome and they were able to get him out,” Fricke said. “Hopefully, he will recover and be off and live his life.”
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