'Fireman Ham' retires from duty
Published 18/03/2014 | 14:52
A 14-stone pig nicknamed Fireman Ham has retired from Avon Fire & Rescue Service after becoming too good at his job.
Dominic was rescued by animal welfare charity HorseWorld two years ago after his elderly owner died.
After several attempts to break free from his new home, keepers decided the 200lb animal would be the perfect candidate to teach fire crews how to handle escaped animals.
Dozens of firefighters have since taken part in Dominic's 'escapology' lessons, which involve simulating rescue situations and moving him safely around the farm.
However, course leaders say Dominic has become so good at his job that he no longer poses a challenge.
Animal safety lecturer Dawn Watkins said: "Dominic is a very friendly pig, he loves people and likes to be the centre of attention so having everyone run around after him makes his day.
"He has now however, reached a stage where he knows his job so well that he goes where he is supposed to go on his own so is not really a challenge for the crew to move.
"He was offered a home on a farm with other pigs where he will be kept as a pet and will receive lots of attention so we decided to let him retire."
She added: "The Fire and Rescue Service will be sad to see him go. They usually start the day a bit wary of the pig but by the end of the training, he's everyone's best friend. It's impossible not to love him."
Station manager Gary Weeks, Avon Fire & Rescue Service's animal rescue lead adviser, said: "As a fire and rescue service we are attending more incidents involving large animals so it is vital we have the right training to ensure the welfare of those animals and ensure that our crews are safe when dealing with incidents of this nature.
"Trapped or injured animals, like cows, pigs and horses, may pose a real threat to our firefighters as they may try to kick or bite in a traumatic situation.
"Working alongside Dominic has been really useful in giving our staff the knowledge and confidence they need when dealing with animals.
"I would like to thank Horseworld, and Dominic in particular, for helping us with our training and we wish Dominic a happy retirement."