Five fire crews sent, but cliff-fall sheep put down
Rescue: Calls for improved fire crew training
Specialist fire crews were despatched from stations across Tayside and Fife in a doomed bid to save a single Aberdeen sheep.
Five crews were sent to a cliff-side near Nigg Bay in Aberdeen to try to rescue the stranded animal, only for it to be shot dead on the advice of a vet.
Scottish Fire and Rescue said its local crews did not have the rope rescue skills required to undertake the potentially dangerous operation.
Mid Scotland and Fife Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said the entire episode “sounded like the plot of a 70s sitcom”.
He called for fire crews to be trained in as many different means of rescue as possible to avoid leaving areas with reduced cover.
The incident took place last month when the animal became stranded on a cliff at Nigg after it strayed from nearby fields.
A farmer notified Scottish Fire and Rescue to the plight of the sheep at around 5pm. Crews ini- tially hoped to carry out a rescue with the aid of a Coastguard team.
However, as fire crews from Perth, Dundee, Lochgelly and Inverness made their way to the scene, a vet was liaising with Coastguard crews and decided the rescue attempt was too risky.
The Coastguard confirmed the animal had “fallen too far down the cliff and it would have put crews at risk to try and rescue it”.
Instead, a decision was taken by the vet to “dispatch” the animal, an action that was undertaken “using a firearm” by the owner of the animal.
Mr Fraser said the incident illustrated the need for more extensive training of fire crews to protect services locally.
He added: “Calling out multiple different fire crews and the Coastguard to help rescue a single sheep, only for it to be shot, sounds like the plot of a 70s sitcom and not modern-day emergency services in Scotland.
“If rescuing stranded or injured livestock is to be the responsibility of the fire and rescue service, it should be a core element of fire crew training.
“This incident illustrates gaps in knowledge exist across the country.”