Halifax Co., VA - At Bright Meadows Farm in Nathalie, the animals are like members of the family, but that family is in mourning now after the death of Jumping Jack Flash."I haven't told my grandson yet that Jack-Jack is gone. The little one used to stand out there and call him and feed him. I don't know what I'm going to do, " said owner Shirley Archer.
Last Thursday, during heavy snowfall, Jack got stuck in a creek on the property. His sister, Dancer, showed signs that something was wrong and led their owner to the creek.
"She took us to him and refused to leave. She was there through the whole thing, " Archer said.
The Halifax County Large Animal Rescue Team shortly arrived with local firefighters, members of the national guard, a vet and helpful neighbors. After four hours of trying to pull the 2,400 pound animal out, they finally freed him, but it was too late.
"It broke everybody's heart that we worked so hard to get him out and we actually got him out, but it wasn't in time to save him, " said Chief Animal Control Officer Todd Moser.
Archer says if proper rescue equipment had been available to the team, Jack could have been saved.
The team used everything from fire hoses to tarps to help Jack, but a lack of funding in Halifax County has prevented the purchase of proper harnesses and lifts for large animals.
"We need the equipment. You cannot do the job without the equipment, " Archer said.
Now she hopes through fundraisers and donation efforts, she can raise the 6,000 dollars it will take to get the equipment that could save the next animal.
"I don't want Jack's death to be in vain. I don't want this to happen to somebody else, " Archer said.
Archer and her husband operate a winery on their farm. They plan to raise funds for the new equipment at their annual Derby Day Festival on May 3. For more information about the event and the winery, go to http://www.brightmeadowsfarm.com/index.php .