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Firefighters rescue dog from flooded Los Angeles River in Vernon

January 22, 2010 |  2:00 pm

We don't know about you, but we were glued to our TV screen earlier this afternoon as the effort to rescue a large dog trapped in the flooded Los Angeles River was broadcast live. 

The rainstorms that have been pummeling L.A. over the past few days have caused the river to swell.  It's unclear who, if anyone, owns the dog, or how it managed to fall into the fast-moving river in Vernon.  Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott told KTLA News that the animal was first reported walking in shallow water near Washington Boulevard at around 11:30 a.m.  At least 50 firefighters responded to the scene, according to the Associated Press.

Firefighters first attempted to rescue it by dangling flotation devices from a bridge overhead, to no avail.  The dog then evaded firefighters who tried to approach it, sloshing further down the river.  Around 12:30 p.m., it managed to reach the edge of the river and attempted to climb up a steep concrete wall to safety, but several times fell back into the river. 

Finally, a firefighter dangling beneath a helicopter managed to grab hold of the terrified dog, who responded (rather predictably) by biting its rescuer and thrashing about.  Despite the inherent difficulty of rescuing an animal that doesn't want to be rescued, the firefighter managed to lift the dog to safety; both were deposited on a nearby bridge.  The dog was transferred to an ambulance for veterinary care and its rescuer was taken to a hospital for treatment of bite wounds, KTLA reported.

-- Lindsay Barnett

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