The RSPCA and fire service carried out a dramatic sheep rescue on Sunday (27 January) after the animals became stranded near to the B4381 in Welshpool.


The 32 sheep were on a flood plain and were stranded when the River Severn burst its banks overnight.  As waters rose, 20 of the sheep managed to find a patch of higher ground next to a river bridge but the other 12 were balancing about 200 yards away on a hedge line.


The RSPCA was called in the morning and inspectors Phil Lewis and Dave McCartney from the water rescue team arrived at 10am.


The fire service was also called to help and two boats from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue were launched, with the RSPCA inspectors in one and the fire service in the other.


They decided it would be too risky to try to rescue the 20 sheep as they could have run into the deep water nearby.  They then tried to rescue the other sheep, but as the boats approached, 10 of the sheep decided to try to get back across the flow and drowned before anyone could reach them.


However, inspector Lewis managed to haul two of the sheep into the boat and took them to dry land.


The waters receded enough by 6pm so that the flock of 20 sheep could be walked out of the water.


Inspector Lewis said:  “We had several calls about animals in flood water as a combination of rain, snow melt and already very saturated ground resulted in problems all over Wales.


“We are part of the RSPCA’s water rescue team and have rescued many animals from flooding so it was distressing that we just couldn’t get to the 10 sheep which decided to try to cross the flood waters.  However, we are extremely pleased that we managed to get two of them back and they are both doing very well and the other 20 were all walked off the land later that evening.”


It is thought that flood warnings came too late for the sheep to be moved as it was already dark.


If you would like to help the RSPCA carry out animal rescues, you can give £3 now by texting HELP to 78866 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message)