A dog up a tree? Check. A cat in a drain? Check. A goat in a boat? Almost.

The Dargaville Fire Brigade has a proud record of unusual animal rescues but a feral goat perched on a log stuck in willow trees 10 metres out in a flooded river proved too much even for them.

Emergency services were alerted yesterday to a goat which appeared to be stuck up a tree surrounded by floodwaters spilling from the Wairoa River, near the Tangiteroria Bridge on State Highway 14.

The goat was clearly visible to passing motorists, hence the calls for a rescue.


Senior station officer Brian Clune, of the Dargaville Fire Brigade, said the volunteers were unable to reach the goat on foot because the floodwaters were too deep.

"Then we were going to swim out but it was too dangerous with all the rubbish in the river," he said.

Next the brigade considered getting an inflatable rescue boat, for example, from their colleagues at Te Kopuru Fire Brigade, but the goat's predicament didn't seem serious enough to warrant mounting a major rescue operation. It appeared quite content and would be able to walk to safety once the tide and floodwaters dropped, Mr Clune said.

"It was eating some of the branches and wasn't in any real danger. It was just walking around on a log."

A couple of ladies from the Whangarei SPCA stayed behind to monitor the goat and ensure it eventually reached dry land, he said.

In 2015 Dargaville firefighters rescued a dog, a Jack Russell-cross named Tippi, which got stuck on a branch about 5m from the ground after climbing a tree near Arapohue. A month earlier the volunteers had to shimmy though 4m of mud-filled stormwater drain to rescue a kitten.