In a commercial business area of Riverview Florida, a yard crew was working on the grounds. One of the men, who was doing the mowing, happened to spot a dramatic situation unfolding nearby. A 1000 pound bull was in a pond, and appeared to be in trouble. He had tried to get out but was unable due to the steep slope of the pond.
He called the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department for help and Deputy Christina Ammons and her partner, Deputy Robert Acosta, came to see what they could do. The man who had spotted the bull met the two deputies and walked them over to the pond. He noticed immediately that the bull’s position had changed and he was in serious trouble. His head was slipping under the water. It became quite clear the animal was going to drown if they didn’t get in there to help him.
Deputy Ammons quickly removed her shoes, gun and holster then Deputy Acosta held her hand and lowered her into the water as they did not know what was on the bottom. Making her way over to the bull’s head she could see that his eyes were rolled forward and he was shivering.
She had to wedge her knee under his neck in order to get his head high enough to stay above the water and Deputy Ammons had to stay like that for 90 minutes while they waited for help to arrive. A bull that size the head alone can weigh 30-50 pounds. Her partner, joined by another deputy, Steve Reinsch, stayed up on the bank of the pond, armed with AR15 rifles, in case any alligators showed up and chose to attack them.
This 20 year old bovine literally had his life in her hands. At one point he tried to get up while the deputy was holding him, but he was not able to and his head fell back into her arms. She told him that she loved him and was not going to leave him.
I do believe that animals can understand things like that because of the sincerity in the tone of her voice. He stayed there and didn’t struggle or try to get up again.
Firefighters arrived and were able to get tow straps around the midsection of the animal. They used some back boards on the slope of the pond to help slide him up the bank. The firefighters were very gentle and careful with him, and took great care to make sure the tow straps would not break his ribs as they gradually tugged him, inch by inch, up onto dry land.
In a shocky state he lay there on the ground, gaining his strength back. Deputy Ammons knelt down beside him and with one swipe, he rubbed his massive head on her arm, then returned to his stoic position. To this day she recalls so vividly how he had thanked her. When she spoke with me during this interview, it was pretty obvious how deeply that moment had moved her. I can only imagine the gratitude he felt, this gigantic animal, stuck, unable to free himself and this woman was just not going to give up on him. A unique relationship had been formed between the two of them during the rescue.
A herd of cows had been watching all of this from the other side of the pond and it seemed like they knew this bull had been in trouble. He lay there, on his side for about half an hour, then was able to sit up with help from the people around him. Another thirty minutes later and he was able to stand, wobbly at first, then he slowly walked away.
Deputy Ammons did go back several times to see him, however, she could not find him in the huge pasture where he and the herd lived.
Some reporters had arrived during the rescue to document the story. After the extrication was complete, they interviewed the owner and asked him if the bull had a name.
He replied, “No, but he does now, Lucky!”
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