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Firefighters rescue dog from flooded Los Angeles River in Vernon

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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Comments () | Archives (22)

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Way to go LAFD!!! Great story in the midst of all the gloom and doom in the news. Hope the brave firefighter recovers from his injuries, and that the dog is OK and reunited with his owner soon. Firefighters are truly a breed of strength and courage!

What a wonderful firefighter, he didn't let go even though the dog was biting him. And so glad that turned out ok and both are being treated!

I hope they do a follow-up on the doggie - especially if he can be adopted =)
And on the firefighter - he's a hero.

Can anyone please tell me what LAFD Air rescue unit this was who saved the dog so that I can make a donation to this team or their unit's organization directly? I loved it! What Great News!!!

Thank you
-Claudene

Bravo!!!! God bless... the brave men of America. These are the people who represent what a civilized developed country has -- a moral conscience for every life -- whether its a human or an animal. This is the reason why America rules the world, because they have a system for everything. They dont leave an animal dying. They have a system in place for everything. They value life. God bless these bravest men. I live in India and wish, our country could learn a few lessons from these brave men. I salute them!

It's a mistake to say the dog didn't WANT to be rescued when the poor animal was completely terrified. Perhaps you could find a dog ;over to cover such stories. Good job LAFD!

I wonder if the firefighter would have tried to rescue the dog if he knew it would bite him. I wouldn't have. Not all animals attack people trying to rescue them. I dont know why the times lady said it was predictable. Good job to the firefighter though.

True hero indeed!!! I was brought to tears when they made it to the ground safely.

Hey Evan...Have you ever heard what it sounds like having a chopper 100 feet over your head? You couldn't hear a scream if it was right in your ear. Don't you think that might by itself cause a little bit of confusion? Not to mention hypothermia...In human's, one of the main symptoms is for the person to become combative. I would assume the same is true for dogs. God bless the LAFD.. Great job!!

Look, I sm glad the dog is alive and well but 50+ firefighters responding to the scene? A helicopter? How much tax money does all that come to? Isn't your state broke? Isn't your governor going hat in handto Washington to ask Obama for money? Sorry, but this was an irresponsible expenditure of public funds.

First of all - kudos to the department for making this rescue - and it appeared to be well coordinated with all assets. AND - you saved the dog from a very stressful and dangerous situation that could have easily been a PERSON.
My only concern is that based on the video, the great intentions of the rescuers needs to be backed up with more training and equipment for handling dogs in these situations. This dog was TERRIFIED and there is no reason for a rescuer to get injured when he was trying his best to assist. Perhaps animal control can coordinate some cross training for your teams?
Good luck and thank you for sharing this video with us!

I see that the ovewhelming majority response is Yes the Firefighter Should Have Saved The Dog. Good job LAFD!

Excellent job! This has to be one of the kindest acts of humanity I have seen in a long time! I live in Maryland and was watching on Fox News. At anytime the Firefighters could have moved on the nxt incident BUT they didn't. They continued to help and SAVE the dog. Even with the bites the firefighter continued. WOW!!! GREAT JOB!!!!

well evan don't ever try to rescue a person either cuz they usually flail around when drowning too. who cares if the firefighter was bitten. it's kind of his own fault for the way he leapt up from behind and tackled the dog into the water against the wall. they could have covered the dog with a heavy blanket or something. my own rescued dog was vicious when she was younger so i know how to grab hold of a dog properly, obviously he wasn't trained and firemen maybe should be. and im sure the fireman doesn't regret saving the dog even though it bit his hand. rescue dogs save humans every day!

How much did this cost the tax payer? Why are they spending our money and endagering people's lives to save a DOG!? Wake up this is not a person, get a clue, we're in the worst recession our generation has known and you spend money on this...way to go.

Great job L.A. rescue team! You're the best! I swear if I could get my hands on those guy's they'd all be short of breath from the huge squeeze I'd give them for being such wonderful heroes!:)

This man is a HERO in my eyes!! I'm sure he has braved many dangerous situations to rescue people and kudos to him for doing so..but to see him risk his life for poor "Vernon" truly warmed my heart!! What a brave man!! Thank you firefighter St. George..you are a TRUE HERO!!
Karen Gingras
Burlington Vermont

Evan, that's incorrect. Even the sweetest animal may bite when terrified to that point, it's a natural defense. The firefighter knew exactly what he was getting into and knew that there was a good possibility of being bitten, he still cared enough to go for it. Firefighters were saying that even people will sometimes fight them during a rescue if they're scared enough.

Remember: A dog is not a human even though some are smarter than some humans that I know. This dog was TERRIFIED. I would have been. He didn't know that the firefighter was there to help. This firefighter is a true hero to say the least. I hope the firefighter doesn't have permanent damage to his thumb and arm. God Bless him and the pilot as well as the others waiting on the ground to help. This was an effort made possible by many caring people.

This was an irresponsible act by the Los Angeles Fire Department. The attempt to save the dog put several firefighters and pilots at risk to save an animal.

Awesome job !!! What a great job, and a fabulous demonstration of the caring and dedication of rescue workers who put their health and well-being on the line at a moment's notice to save a life. Admirable, wonderful, restores one's sense of hope and faith in the goodness and compassion of others. A+++++++

John,if this was your pet in the river, would you rescue it? And even if it wasn't, why would you not help another one of god's creatures?It's people like you who only care about money and not another life.What is wrong with you? Would you care if a tiger was drowning in the river? A life is a life, no matter what. Get a life.

Nice rescue


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