A fox that was rescued after falling in the town pond was released “fit and healthy”, the RSPCA has confirmed.

The animal charity believes the animal had walked across the frozen pond, in the Parade, Watford, and fallen in the cold water before managing to scramble onto the small island of reeds in the middle.

With the adult female fox trapped, RSPCA Animal Rescue officer Philip Heyes was called to the scene and requested assistance from Herts Fire and Rescue just before 11am yesterday (January 16).

Philip said: “The poor fox probably fell through the ice, but managed to make it across to the reeds, but was still stuck.

“She was curled up when we got to her and was clearly very cold, and felt sorry for herself. I managed to catch her and she was then put in a carrier and taken across the pond via the firefighters.”

One engine from Garston Fire Station attended and the crew used their ladder to bridge the gap. The fox was placed in a cage and shuffled back along the ladder, from the island to the pondside, while shoppers watched on.

“I checked her over and she was fit and healthy and so I released her into a nearby park where she ran off - probably grateful that she was on dry ground,” Philip added.

“I would like to say a big thank you to the firefighters for their efforts in the rescue. We are so glad it was a successful rescue with a happy outcome.”

A fire service spokesperson said: “We are happy to assist in animal rescues when we are available and able to do so.

“Our firefighters have the training and the specialist equipment and sometimes we are the only organisation who can safely rescue animals.

“These calls can also provide real life training opportunities, giving firefighters a chance to use specialist equipment to carry out rescues.

“However, our crews will always prioritise incidents which involve any risk to humans.”

Watford Observer: Pictures from the fox rescue, in The Parade, Watford.Pictures from the fox rescue, in The Parade, Watford. (Image: Rainbow Home Care Services)