RICHMOND -- Peter Pan is back home, safe and sound.

The sheep had been chased by a dog over a steep, 300-foot cliff in Point Richmond on Tuesday afternoon before the two animals found themselves trapped there.

Firefighters rappelled down the cliff and came to their rescue.

"When the most dramatic thing in Richmond is an animal rescue, it's a good day," Vice Mayor Tom Butt, who owns the sheep, wrote in an e-mail to residents Wednesday morning.

Butt owns three goats and two sheep to graze on brush and help prevent wildfires. On Tuesday, a dog named Sparkle got inside Butt's fence and chased one of the sheep out of the pasture and over a nearby cliff.

"The dog and sheep, who were shortly before chaser and chasee, found themselves reluctant buddies stranded a few feet apart on a ledge," Butt wrote in the e-mail. "The chase was over for the dog, and fear had set in for both animals."

Animal control officers called the Richmond Fire Department just before 4 p.m. to alert them that the animals were stuck about halfway up the cliff behind the wastewater treatment plant near Canal Boulevard, Battalion Chief Merlin Turner said.

Using rope, firefighters descended the hill, harnessed the animals and brought them to safety, Turner said. The operation took about two hours.

"Animals are more difficult (to rescue) than people because they're unpredictable," he said.


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Several onlookers tried to rescue the animals themselves, Turner said, but were told by fire officials to stay off the hill because of safety concerns. Butt said that a woman who knew the dog's owner got a few feet from the animals but had to stop because the terrain was so steep.

Both dog and sheep are back with their owners.

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