Firefighters defend saving dog from river
Los Angeles authorities have responded to critics of the massive effort to save a German shepherd trapped in the Los Angeles River.
“All life is important,” fire department captain Steve Ruda said Monday.
About 50 firefighters, a helicopter and swift water rescue teams responded to assist the German shepherd stuck in the rising Los Angeles River, whose steep concrete banks kept the dog from getting out.
The dog, nicknamed Vernon after the city where he was rescued, remained in quarantine at the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority shelter in Downey, south of Los Angeles.
While the rescuers who saved the dog on Friday have been widely hailed as heroes, they have also been vilified by a few in blogs, on social networks and story comment sections, the Associated Press reported.
“You’re not going to please everybody. There’s always 10 percent, they either don’t like animals or think we are wasting taxpayer money,” said Ruda.
Joe St. Georges, 50, the 25-year firefighting veteran who hoisted Vernon to safety, lost a fingernail and fractured a thumb when the dog bit him during the rescue, video of which was televised nationally and shown on many Internet sites.
The dog, about 4 years old and 65 pounds, was eating everything given to him and sleeping well, said Capt. Aaron Reyes, director of operations for the shelter. If no owner shows up, Reyes said, “we do have a mile-long list of people who want him.”
If Vernon hadn’t been rescued, Reyes said, he would have likely died. “Do you just wait at the mouth of the river and wait for the carcass? Any way you slice it, that is unacceptable. They would not have been able to live that down,” Reyes said. “They made a decision and we support that decision.”
Posted by John Woestendiek January 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: critics, dog, firefighters, german shepherd, helicopter, heroes, heroic, joe st. georges, los angeles, los angeles river, quarantine, rescue, rescued, river, saved, shelter, vernon, video