A FAMILY’S day at the park ended in upset when their pet dog got his head stuck between two boulders at a Blackburn park.

Childminder Paula Gerrard, her partner Carl, and their three-year-old daughter Sophia were walking cocker spaniels Eric and Henry at Witton Park when Eric became struck near to the children’s playground.

The family eventually freed Eric using car jacks.

Paula, 40, said: “On the path you walk through with dogs, there’s boulders that people can sit on. Carl sat on one with the dogs on their leads while I pushed Sophia on the swings.

“Eric started yelping, because he got his head stuck between two of the boulders.”

The family of Coldstream Place, Blackburn, struggled to free nine-year-old Eric, who became ‘distressed’, but even with the help of passers-by they couldn’t get his head loose, at around 6pm on Saturday.

Paula said: “Eric was struggling and trying to free himself. He was hurting himself so I had to pin him to the floor.

“I rang the fire brigade and they said I needed to call the RSPCA, who would evaluate the situation, and it was up to them to call the fire brigade.

“It took me 20 minutes to get through to speak to somebody. Eric was trapped for one and a half hours before we managed to get him free using two car jacks.

“I’m disgusted and upset the RSPCA did not do anything sooner. They rang us just as we got Eric free and said the fire brigade would send an engine.”

An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “One of our inspectors started making her way to the scene to try and help. The inspector, who was the nearest, was an hour and a half away from the country park dealing with another animal in need, so she called the fire and rescue service and asked them to help.

“We are a charity which answers more than a million calls for help every year and at busy times there can be a queue on our phone lines. On this evening the inspector had been dealing with a case of a horse which had been attacked by children and a kitten which had broken its leg in Yorkshire.”

A fire service spokesman added: “When we receive a call from the owner of a small animal that is trapped, we always ask the RSPCA to investigate first and see if they can free the animal without the need for a fire engine which may be required for a life critical incident.”