UPDATE: Collie, Chihuahua find way out of mine shaft

April 15, 2010

Two dogs that inspired a rescue attempt at a Cripple Creek mine were home safe Thursday after they climbed a 500-foot slippery slope and freed themselves.

Jane Mannon, manager of community affairs for the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining, said the border collie and Chihuahua climbed up and out of the mine sometime overnight. A mine manager spotted the dogs about 7:30 a.m. and used his lunch to coax them into his truck.

Teller County Deputy Mikel Baker said the dogs were a little dehydrated but were otherwise healthy. They were returned to their owners Thursday morning. She said the owners knew their dogs were missing but didn’t realize they were the same animals that were in the mine. Baker said the owners were ticketed for letting their dogs run free.

Mine officials were discussing options Wednesday to help free the dogs but decided it was too dangerous to send an employee to rescue them. Mannon said wild animals have gotten trapped there in the past but were able to get out on their own. They hoped the dogs would do the same.

“We figured they got hungry enough and thirsty enough to get themselves out,” she said.

Mannon said the dogs were trapped in a surface mine that crews were filling up with waste rock. The area is closed off to people, but she suspects the dogs were chasing another animal when they got trapped.

“Unfortunately, people let their animals run loose, and this is a mining district,” Mannon said. “This is the result.”

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