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Torpoint RSPCA Officer Honoured

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5:08pm 3rd March 2014

A Torpoint dad is honoured for his role saving a pony which plummeted 80 feet down a Cornish cliff.

The animal was left teetering another 30 feet above a rocky cove, only accessible by boat, at Rame Head last February.

The wild pony was part of a clifftop grazing project.

Rescue teams from the RSPCA and Cornwall Fire and Rescue slowly coaxed along a steep slope of loose rock down to the beach.

Royal Marines picked up six firefighters and an inflatable rescue path and dropped them at the beach where the path was inflated and the pony was carried and floated across the choppy sea in a makeshift stretcher onto the landing craft.

RSPCA officer Peter Ferris was with them: "It's immense satisfaction and once they have been checked over and you know they've either been released back to the wild or, as with the pony, back to their herd, it is really rewarding.

"I do it because I get a lot of satisfaction out of the job and also I love the bit of extra that I do because a lot of people out there don't understand or don't know so it's educating people and educating children."

Peter has been handed the Jeanne McBride Award at the RSPCA Honours ceremony.

The dad-of-two joined the RSPCA six years ago. His job as an animal collection officer has brought him into contact with all kinds of animals including an eight feet monitor lizard being kept in a bedroom and a black widow spider found in a bag of supermarket bananas.

He also played a vital role in the rescue of hundreds of contaminated seabirds in the south west last year.

In his spare time Peter is a keen dog trainer, visits schools setting up wildlife groups and digging ponds and rearing orphaned young including deer, otters, foxes, owls and stoats. He even finds the time to make bird feeders with his children Lili, 8, and Jacob, 6, to sell for the RSPCA.

The Jeanne McBride Award is presented to an animal welfare officer or animal collection officer in recognition of special merit and ability.

Kevin Degenhard, the RSPCA's Chief Inspectorate Officer, said: "Peter is being recognised with special merit for his commitment to his role for going the extra mile to help promote animal welfare within the community in Cornwall.

"He is well known in the area and, as is demonstrated by the clifftop pony rescue, he knows the right people to call in to get the job done.

"He is keen to spread the animal welfare message to the next generation and hopefully some of them will follow in his footsteps."

Peter added: "No two days are the same in this job, that's why I love it so much. I think my highlight was helping with the birds affected by pollution last year. It was such a big job, it went on for about eight weeks and all sorts of birds were affected including Guillemots, Razorbills, cormorants, puffins and gulls. It was really great to work with the other groups and agencies to save them."


5:08pm 3rd March 2014

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