Rescuers cut down five trees to save dog trapped in badger sett

The rescue team with Bella the dog after she was freed (Picture: SWNS)
The rescue team with Bella the dog after she was freed (Picture: SWNS)

Rescuers were forced to cut down five trees to free a terrier who had wandered into a badger sett.

Bella, 11, was unrecognisable after emerging from beneath the ground in Betteshanger Park near Deal, Kent, on Monday.

The white terrier was left black and covered in mud following a two-hour operation to rescue her.

Video footage shows a shaken Bella wagging her tail as she was pulled from the earth and reunited with her worried owner.

Bella, who ran away at 9.30am, was found by another dog owner a quarter of a mile away, who heard her muffled barking.

In total ten volunteers, who had access to a digger, tractor and hedgecutter, came to the dog's aid and worked for two hours to remove five small sycamores and debris blocking their path to the sett.

The rescue team get to work to free Bella (Picture: SWNS)
The rescue team get to work to free Bella (Picture: SWNS)

Park estates and facilities manager Dean Meadows, 26, who led the operation, said Bella ‘looked like a miner who'd done a day down the pits’.

He said: "There was an old tree laid across the badger sett, blocking the entrance so we used a chainsaw to remove that.


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"We had to remove five sycamore trees in total, with a team of five or six people helping to clear the way."

He said Bella went into the badger sett head first and couldn't turn around to get out.

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Mr Meadows added: "The old coal soil which is like sand was falling into the sett around her.

"When we got her out, her eyes were full of spoil and she was very shaken.

"Everyone was very happy and her owner was very grateful. She had a tear in her eye and couldn't express her thanks enough."

Mr Meadows, who has worked at the park for nine years, revealed the team helped with emergencies all the time.

He said they had herded cows, landed helicopters in emergencies and dealt with general first aid like broken ribs and punctured lungs by mountain bikers.