Horse Rescued From Deep Well Pit in Michigan

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Frances De Jong / EyeEm via Getty Images)

On Thursday, October 27, Manistee County Animal Control Deputy Dillon Rosa arrived at the office for what he thought would be a regular day at work. He spends his days protecting the animals, and more specifically the pets, in his corner of Michigan. This means coordinating adoptions, caring for homeless animals, protecting pets from abuse, and removing them from dangerous situations when necessary.

Typically, the dedicated Manistee County official deals primarily with dogs and cats. So when his office phone rang the moment he was open for business, Rosa was a little surprised by the caller’s complaint. According to the caller, they lived on a large piece of property housing several horses.

Unfortunately, a couple of the horses had escaped their enclosure. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem for the owner, but one of the escaped horses had fallen into a deep well pit.

“Which livestock do,” Rosa explained to Midland Daily News. “And they were just walking around the yard and happened to walk over the well put that was covered. And the weight of the horse, the well pit cover could not support, so the horse ended up falling in.”

With the horse’s entire body swallowed up by the concrete pit, the owner was unable to free it on their own. And though Deputy Rosa is highly capable in animal rescue missions, pulling a 600-pound horse out of an 8-foot hole in the ground on your own is impossible without superhuman strength. So he called in some backup.

Before long, a Manistee County Road Commission official arrived to help, as well as a conservation officer, a veterinarian, and several altruistic neighbors.

Michigan Community Bands Together to Save Injured Horse

With the horse rescue team assembled, the crew put their plan into motion. First, Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Scott MacNeill visited a local towing service and secured a tow strap. The family-owned local business was more than ready to help a neighbor in need.

Returning with the strap, MacNeill and Rosa worked together to secure it around the horse. They then attached the other end of the strap to the bulldozer provided by Brad Lasko and Brian Cilman of the Manistee County Road Commission.

Local residents Jessica Broadbent and Trever Mattis lending a hand, the crew carefully began lifting the horse from the well pit. And with the help of six compassionate crew members and a large piece of heavy machinery, the horse was freed.

With the horse back on solid ground, a veterinarian looked it over and was astounded by their findings. Despite the blood coating the horse’s legs due to the horrifying fall, it was perfectly fine. The horse was frightened and had minor cuts on its front legs but was otherwise unharmed.

“[The veterinarian] just happened to get out to the scene just shortly after we pulled the horse out and got kind of a wellness check done on the animal,” Rosa said. “(It was a) great community effort and great team effort by multiple agencies to come together and accomplish one goal. It’s something that we’ve never, none of us have done before. So it was a good outcome.”