Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Rescue almost ended in a double tradegy.

Much as we love our dog Poppy and if ever she got into difficulties it would be a hard choice to make to leave her to perish. I would certainly try and rescue her, but I would not be prepared to enter a frozen canal. 

I am amazed that a man in Walsall in the west midlands, did just that and jumped into an icy canal in a vain attempt to save his dog. The man himself was only saved by the actions of a passer by who raised the alarm. The man ended up being rescued by firefighters.

Firefighter Ian Molyneux of Walsall fire station said: “We don’t know how the dog came to be in the water, but it is clear the man decided to go into the canal to rescue it. We tried to make a harness for the dog, but it was to distressed so in the end it was carried up. The man had been there for quite a while and was very cold.”
Crew Commander Darren Kendall, from Wednesbury, said “The man was shivering when we got to him. He had been swimming down the canal chasing his dog but there was no canalside where he was – just factory premises and a steep side wall.” The same Wednesbury crew attended a second rescue two hours later, and used “pure manpower” to pull out a horse stuck in a canal in Bilston.

Read more: Link

Last February we had a winter cruise along the Ashby canal. One of the things we noticed was the number of animals that had drowned in the water by falling through the ice. We encountered three drowned foxes in the canal on one short section alone. Soon afterwards we also came across several drowned rabbits. My guess is that during the spell of bad weather the foxes had been drawn onto the canal chasing prey and had fallen through the ice. I think that the dog in Walsall might have walked out onto the ice and fallen through in a thin spot. In a typical owners "unthinking reaction" to his dog being in danger the man had entered the freezing water to attempt a rescue.

But sometimes people will react to someone else's dog being in trouble. For instance when landlord Adrian Watson jumped into a freezing canal to rescue a greyhound after it fell through the ice. Adrian, landlord at the Elephant and Castle, Hemingfield, Barnsley saved the dog, aged three, who got stuck in the canal after she had run off from its owner, while they were out walking. Adrian, said: "The dog was stuck and in great distress. I never gave it a second thought, I just broke the ice and jumped in. The dog would have drowned or frozen to death."

In a similar event, a dog was rescued from Lowsonford canal. The dog became wedged behind a lock ladder. Luckily, RSPCA animal welfare officer, Jane Fuller, and trainee Ade Langley, were nearby and rescued the dog. Jayne said: “We got her out of the cold water by having the lock drained and with the help of a member of the public we managed to climb down the ladder and lift her up to safety. She was very wet and very cold but she escaped with cuts on her legs and paws where she had tried to scrabble out of her predicament. The dog was later returned to her owner."
Read more: Link

This raises the issue of draining a frozen lock and the risk of the dog being drawn down under the ice. If you are not a boater, you might not think of this possibility. In this instance, a good outcome, a couple of people rescued the dog. The difference being that the rescue was done in some safety to the rescuers.
Read more: Link

All three events have taken place in the last few weeks.


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