Herd of 'frisky Friesians' leaves dog walker up to his neck in mud

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A dog walker rescued with his pet from a muddy mire after being chased by a herd of cows said last night he thought he was going to die.

Tony Faye, 45, was up to his waist in mud when he was rescued by firefighters who were airlifted to the scene after he called for help from his mobile phone.

Mr Faye, from Paignton, Devon, was clinging to a tree branch when he was pulled to safety on Thursday night.

His ordeal began when he took his dog for a walk in fields near the Double Locks hotel on the Exeter Canal near Starcross.

A herd of cows he was passing became "frisky" and began following him - so he began to wade into a river in a bid to get away. "I hit the mud and the cows were still following, so I walked out even further. It was getting deeper and deeper - I thought I was going to die," he told the BBC.

A police helicopter was used to ferry firefighters to the mire to extricate him. Mr Faye and his pet were "covered from head to toe in mud" after their ordeal.

Baxter Provan, the spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police, said: "He rang the police on his mobile phone and said he had been chased into the swamp by some cows. He said he was hanging onto a branch and was sinking in the mud."

The man and dog were spotted at 9.26pm waist deep in mud and clinging to a tree.It took the firefighters just 12 minutes to pull the man and dog to safety. Neither Mr Faye nor his dog needed medical attention.