On Tuesday, Jan. 17, Jason McCreeley and his dog, Margo, were in Warwick’s Cascade Lake Park and saw two dogs on the ice.
According to Suzyn Barron, president of the Warwick Valley Humane Society, he called to them but one of the Labradors, was too afraid and just sat down while the other one came off the ice. McCreeley put her in his truck for safekeeping. He then called the Warwick Police and his neighbors, Ken and Betsy Mitchell for help.
Warwick Police notified Animal Control of a dog stuck on the ice in Cascade Lake Park and Barron, who is also an Animal Control Officer and ACO Sean Watson responded and arranged the use of a flat-bottomed boat belonging to the Mitchells.
Barron and Ken Mitchell then made their way to the stranded dog that had since fallen into the lake and was trying to keep his head above the water. Using a sledgehammer, Mitchell chopped at the ice until they reached the dog. Once close enough, they used a catch pole to keep the dog’s head above the water.
“The dog interpreted the pole noose as a leash and began to swim back to shore dragging the boat behind him as the crowd on shore called excitedly out to him, trying to encourage him to keep swimming,” reported Barron. “But several times the boat got snagged on the ice. And at this point, the dog was shaking and exhausted.”
Despite his size, she added that they pulled the 100 lbs. wet dog into the boat, nearly capsizing it, and wrapped him in a blanket while they were also getting drenched.
“Fortunately,” said Barron, “the Warwick Fire Department was on hand to throw ropes, which the dog refused to fetch, and pull them all to safety.”
ACO Watson immediately transported the dog to a veterinary hospital for treatment of possible hypothermia. After an exam and a blow dry, the Lab was given the all clear and brought to the Warwick Valley Humane Society. Both dogs were reunited with their frantic owner at the end of the day.
“This is just one of the many hazards that can occur with loose dogs,” said Barron. ”The Town of Warwick has leash laws to prevent dogs from becoming or causing auto accidents, fighting with other animals, menacing people and their pets, or in this case, drowning. This ending, however, was a happy one for all and we thank Jason McCreeley, Betsy and Ken Mitchell, Humane Society Director, Michelle Little and Warwick Fire Department personnel: Mike Contaxis, ,Dan Schweikart, Tim Vreeland, Phil Cialella, Scott Lemin, Joe Ingui and Chris Walsh for their efforts in this adrenaline and anxiety filled water rescue. “
- Roger Gavan