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Emergency crews spend 20 hours rescuing raccoon from drain

By
Daniel Uria
A raccoon was rescued from a pipe underneath a market in California after a 20-hour rescue mission. The rescue effort required several forms of equipment and multiple volunteers, but ultimately ended with the raccoon being pulled to freedom alive. 
 Screen capture/Wildlife Emergency Services/Facebook
A raccoon was rescued from a pipe underneath a market in California after a 20-hour rescue mission. The rescue effort required several forms of equipment and multiple volunteers, but ultimately ended with the raccoon being pulled to freedom alive. Screen capture/Wildlife Emergency Services/Facebook

SANTA CRUZ, Calif., Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Emergency crews in California embarked on a 20-hour mission to rescue a raccoon trapped inside a drain.

Wildlife Emergency Services arrived to the scene to rescue a raccoon which was found trapped after a homeless man reportedly heard grunts coming from a pipe in a local market.

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"I was on scene by 3:00 p.m. The animal's moans were unlike anything I'd ever heard," Rebecca Dmytryk said in a Wildlife Emergency Services blog post. "It's unusual for an adult animal to cry out, so, this meant the animal was in extreme distress. Just heartbreaking."

Crews discovered an adult raccoon trapped about 8 feet inside the pipe as water began to collect around the animal's body.

The crews used shovels to remove sludge and drain the water away until Watsonville Utility Crew Leader Henry Cervantes arrived and suggested it was necessary to cut through the asphalt to the pipe in order to rescue the raccoon.

"That plan didn't set well with Bill, the property manager," Dmytryk said. "He would not grant us permission to dig up the newly paved parking lot...but, the property owner, Shirley - a real animal lover, gave us the go-ahead...under one condition - that we put it back the way we found it."

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Several crew members volunteered beyond their work hours to help free the raccoon by attempting to cut through the asphalt with a handheld masonry saw.

The saw was only able to cut so deep before Cervantes was forced to call for a giant utility truck which allowed the crew to jackhammer down to the pipe.

By 9 p.m. one of the crew members managed to grab a hold of the raccoon, but the trapped creature would still not budge from its spot.

About an hour and a half later the crew managed to use crowbars to open up the pipe enough to pull the raccoon to safety where it was placed on top of warming pads.

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