A Chihuahua missing for five days has been discovered in an abandoned mine after villagers raised more than £1,200 to fund a drone to help find her.
A ‘Give a Dog a Drone’ hunt was launched to track down five-year-old Cherry after she disappeared on Mynydd James near Abertillery in South Wales.
The drone – which was eventually supplied by a local company for free – used a thermal imaging camera to spot the dog’s body heat and found her trapped in the old mining tunnel.
Cherry’s owner Katinka Slingsby, 27, said: ‘It is absolutely amazing. It was overwhelming. I just want to say thank you as we couldn’t have found Cherry without the community and I’m so touched by everybody’s help.
The RSPCA animal care assistant added: ‘My dad was out with her walking up the mountain in the early evening throwing sticks for her, and then she just disappeared and he didn’t know where she went.’
Ms Slingsby launched a crowdfunding project to pay for an eye-in-the-sky to join the hunt after Cherry disappeared and more than £1,200 was donated.
But the cash was not needed in the end after a local drone company heard Cherry was missing and provided their services for free.
Ms Slingsby said: ‘The amount of money donated is amazing. We have offered to refund it to people if they want, but if not we are going to donate it to a local charity.’
And the animal worker was delighted to be reunited with her pet after the rescue.
Ms Slingsby added: ‘She went to the vets last night and she’s all healthy. She’s a bit bruised and tired obviously, but the vet was amazed how well she was.’
She said: ‘Animals are my life, I work with them and spend my spare time with them.
‘We are so grateful that we have Cherry back. At the moment she’s on a strict lead, and she’s grounded for the time being.’
John Larkin, from Resource Group Unmanned Aviation Services, said: ‘We are delighted to have been able to reunite Cherry with her owner.
‘Using thermal imaging cameras mounted to one of our unmanned aircraft we were able to locate Cherry within 20 minutes.
‘This just goes to show the wide spread applications of drone technology from aerial inspection and surveying to search and rescue situations, highlighting the breadth of our unmanned aviation services.’