Community Comes Together To Rescue New York Horse Trapped in Cesspool

Police and other responders work to extricate Santino from a collapsed cesspool. Credits: Suffolk County, N.Y. Police

ISLIP TERRACE, N.Y. — An escaped horse got more than he bargained for when the ground beneath him gave way and he ended up in a water filled hole.

According to the Suffolk County Police:

Santino, owned by Angelo Buonomo, 67, of West Babylon, N.Y. escaped from his barn and wandered into a backyard on Nov. 30. While grazing, the 6-year-old quarter horse fell into a collapsed cesspool, becoming trapped four feet below ground level.

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Thanks to fast action by Suffolk County Police Third Precinct Officer Brian Magill, Santino is back on solid ground and safe at home. Officer Magill immediately began reaching out to Suffolk County Police Emergency Services, local businesses with heavy equipment and other first responders. As the Islip Terrace Fire Department pumped out waste and water that was threatening to drown Santino, Michael Barasso from Barasso & Sons, in Islip Terrace, responded with employees and a pay loader to excavate a ramp providing rescuers access to Santino. Suffolk County Police Emergency Service Unit officers helped guide the horse to safety.

Islip Terrace Fire Department, Islip Town Technical Rescue Team, Islip Fire Department, Central Islip Fire Department and the SPCA responded and aided in the rescue. Charles Gandolfo of Higbie Collision, located on Higbie Lane, West Islip, responded with a tow truck equipped with a lift boom and stood by in case efforts with the pay loader failed.

Santino was examined at the scene by veterinarians and does not appear to be injured.

It was not Santino’s first brush with death, purchased the gelding  two years ago in Louisiana, the day before he was scheduled to be slaughtered.

“This rescue would not have been possible without the quick response and the collaborative efforts of our Third Precinct officers, Emergency Services officers, local fire departments and a local business,” Police Commissioner Timothy D. Sini said. “An outstanding job by Suffolk Police Officer Magill, Emergency Service officers, members of the Islip Terrace Fire Department, Michael Barasso and employees from Barasso & Sons and all those emergency responders whose swift action helped save Santino”.


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