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Should L.A. firefighters have risked their lives to save a dog? Tell us what you think [Updated]

Talkbackla The rescue of a dog by an army of firefighters and swift-rescue personnel has been the talk of Los Angeles. It was broadcast live on local TV and has sparked much debate.

Should fire personnel have risked their lives to save the dog?

LAFD Capt. Steve Ruda said the firefighter, Joe St. Georges, who rescued the dog has significant bite injuries to his right hand and forearm, and is being treated in the emergency room at L.A. County-USC Medical Center.

“They are waiting for a hand specialist to come in because of the significance of the injuries,” Ruda said. The dog will be tested for rabies, and is being cared for at the county's Animal Care shelter in Downey, he said.

[Updated at 6 p.m.: St. Georges, wearing a bandage on his hand, was released from the hospital and spoke to the media.

"The dog was trying to get out of the channel, and that was not going to happen," he said, explaining why officials decided to act.

He said the dog "started snapping at me" when he tried to put a capture restraint on the canine. He said he got one bite to the thumb.

St. Georges was asked why he decided to risk his life. He said officials worried that someone without training would attempt to rescue the dog because the scene was being broadcast on TV.]

Share your views below.

--Seema Mehta and Shelby Grad

Comments () | Archives (426)

I agree with Karen L. and Dr. Doolittle.

Dogs in many ways are part of what we call humanity. They are worth a risk of saving them, however in that case the firefighters went beyond the ordinary and showed exceptional bravery.

If that firefighter had not saved that dog I would have. Along with many other good people.

What happened to American. We would not have been discussing this 10 years ago. Things are tought but, firefighters saving domestic animals is pretty normal for this country - no... How many old ladies cats stuck up a tree....
some people should be asmashed of themselves.

I know were only supposed to be concerned with human life but those fire fighters saved a life and to me that makes them hero's. If it were my dog Josie I would be singing praises. I pay taxes and am very happy that they are saving lives even if it isn't always humans.

Yes..the firefighter did the right thing..

I love how people think that this one rescue is going to change the budget of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Just to let you guys know. We get paid whether we sit at the station house or go out to rescue a dog from a river, or a cat from a tree. And no, to a response to an earlier post about firefighters pay, we do not get paid well. We work, without OT, 3750 hours a year compared to a full time hrs a week at 2100 hours a year. We do it for two reasons, stories like this and PENSION.

Including all of the man hours, equipment and medical care for the guy who got bit, how much did it cost to save that dog? Probably too much.

No, not worth risking human life for an animal

The incident can be considered a training scenario, but it sure used a lot of expensive resources. On a side note, lets not forget CHP policy of intentionally running over any stray dogs or cats on a freeway. It done because, many people will swerve to avoid a dog, only to cause a multi car pileup.

Dogs have a soul.It was a great rescue, would you rather watch on live TV how the pure dog drowned. Then People realy would be screaming. The rescuers where already on the scene, and I don't mind my tax dollar are used for rescues of animals and Humans. GREAT JOB LAFD and best wishes for a speedy recovery for John St,Georges.

Joe St. Georges was in a no win situation. Had he not rescued that poor dog, the papers and tv would have been all over him. So the firefighter rescues the dog and now there is a big debate. He did the RIGHT thing. That dog is one of god's creatures. Good for Joe and LAFD! People always have to bit@h about something. All of you who are opposed t what he did, get a life!

Of course! I'm very glad this firefighter had the courage to save this dog life! I believe that a lot more people had the courage to protect and care for all kinds of life. Our planet would be in a lot better shape. It might just be a dog to some but to others this firefighter's action is a great example of how caring we should be.

I love dogs. I own two I picked up from rescue. But 50 firefighters, a helicopter, and god forbid the firefighter got severely injured. My heart says save the dog, but my brain is asking I bet this cost the city $100,000. Dogs die by the hundreds every day at the pound, how many could have been saved if you put that money into a rescue. Sad but honest. There should be a new rule that unless a human life is in danger keep the helicopter grounded and the firefighters safe.

What an awesome firefighter!! He is in my prayers for a quick recovery.

Thank you to such great firefighters and crew. You are truly kind and compassionate people. Feel free to spend my tax dollars.

As far as the money spent to save just a dog, it's my tax dollars (all 30% of my income) and I would much rather see it go for this dog, than all of these people who can work (aren't disabled,have no reason, no excuse) and won't. They feel entitled to my tax money because they are too lazy to get off of their butts and take care of themselves.

Our nanny state is ridiculous. If you don't work, you don't eat.

Please save any animal. They can't protect themselves from the Michael Vicks of the world, or owners who don't protect them and/or abuse them.

I'm with Dr. Doolittle. "that dog deserved to be rescued more than most people".

People have become ridiculously entitled. Try going to college and getting a job. College is free for most entitled people. I worked 3 jobs to pay for it. Get over your desire for mass distribution of wealth. Get a job!!!

Spend my money on animals any day.

Yeah, Yeah, post anything you like in response. I could care less. Your president ( not mine) considers me rich and wants to take my hard earned money and give it to you.

I''d rather give it to the humane society.

P.S. r.s. they interviewed the firefighter and he said he was happy to do it and he understood the risk. Find out the facts before you comment.

P.S.S. yeah, yeah call me angry, whatever. My country is becoming Marxist right before my eyes, and some people are worried about spending money to save an animal. What about the ridiculous spending in Washington. Why don't you complain about that. What a joke.

"win the war on poverty". There isn't any war, people CHOOSE NOT TO WORK. So much money has been given "to the war on poverty". How's it working for you?



First of all, I commend the rescuers because they did risk their lives for an innocent animal. To be honest, this rescue was great practice for them. How often are these men able to run through rescue scenarios when there is no victim? I'm sure it is rather expensive to go through mock rescues as well, so either way taxpayers' dollars are used. I'd much rather have competent, experienced men and women down there working to save my life or the life of another human being then sit here and complain about "taxpayer dollars being wasted." It was an amazing rescue, and the firefighter made a great point about others who would try to rescue the dog.

Sure they should. We should always care about the helpless. The firfighters are well trained and know what they are doing. They are to commended for working so hard to save the helpless dog.

In a world full of heartless people it is wonderful to see the LAPD give everything they had to save a living creature that God created. I hope St. George's hand will heal quickly. God bless you for saving that dog. What goes around comes around and maybe one day that dog will save someone's life.

Yes, they made the right decision. Had some untrained person or people tried to help the dog it would have been worse, and the firefighters would have been trying to save all those people instead. They headed off a worse disaster by stepping in when they did.


no the fire dpartment should never put an animals life before their own. after all its an ANIMAL not a person. i for one am sick of people putting animal rights before humans. all the ads on tv about save the animals what about the kids, theyare starving and beaten every day but nobody cares but if they see and animal abbused they will do something. its insane people get more prison time for beating an animal than a child.i say forget the animals let them die save the kids

If the authorities were worried about someone else saving the dog they should of shot the dog. People are losing their jobs by the hour and this is how the city is spending tax dollars. No animal is worth a human life. Looks like most of your readers would probably step over a homeless person (man, woman and CHILD) on the way to supermarkets for pet food or vetenarians to spend hundreds of dollars on their pets. It is time to re-examine our collective values. OK how about this, all the animal lovers pool all their money and create the Private Animal Lover Squad (PALS). Equip them with trucks, vans, helicopters and a whole communication network. Call PAL (725) 24/7 and send the team out on any animal emergency totally funded by private funds. Then I have no complaints.

I can't believe how callous the public has become. Dogs, cats, little kids falling into holes-I love firefighters because they have big hearts, not spread sheets.
Keep rescuing everything with four legs, guys. St. Francis is watching.

Animals give us unconditional love... the very least we can do is keep them safe whenever possible.

It is awful how we let our love of animals make us blind. We kill hundreds of stray dogs a day yet we spend tens of thousands to save one. Especially in the midst of worst financial outlook for the city how can you throw away tens of thousands of dollars. The cost of helicopter, salaries for 20 plus firefighters, medical bill for the firefighter, lost of wages due to firefighter injured on duty, the cost of rescue ambulance for the dog designed for humans, the cost of treating the dog. Doesn't anybody have any common sense. Yes I think it is a beautiful and uplifting story but I for one do not want my tax wasted.

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