It appeared that the animal wandered away from its farm and onto some boards covering the well, which broke, said Bruce Huseth, fire chief in this western Minnesota town.
Firefighters quickly realized that the animal, which belongs to farmer Warren Gundberg, couldn't just be pulled from the abandoned well on Bryan Nelson's land.
So they started pulling away earth with a tractor and dismantling the well block by block on Thursday. Once one wall had been taken apart, firefighters put a harness around the donkey and guided it out with a rope.
"Whatever it takes," Nelson said as he watched his well come down. "I love animals, and I'm just glad it's O.K."
Gundberg admonished the animal after the rescue: "I bet you'll think twice about doing that again. If you would have stayed home you wouldn't be in this trouble."
Huseth said he has rescued cows that have fallen through ice, but the donkey was a first.
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