St. Joseph Coast Guard saves dog from icy Paw Paw River

Ice rescue crew members from Coast Guard Station St. Joseph pose after the rescue of a dog from the ice on the Paw Paw River near St. Joseph, Mich., Jan. 30, 2016. The crew rescued the dog and worked with local authorities to reunite the dog with its owners. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Station St. Joseph)

Ice rescue crew members from Coast Guard Station St. Joseph pose after the rescue of a dog from the ice on the Paw Paw River near St. Joseph, Mich., Jan. 30, 2016. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Station St. Joseph)

CLEVELAND — An ice rescue crew from Coast Guard Station St. Joseph, Michigan, rescued a dog from the ice in the Paw Paw River in Benton Harbor Township, Michigan, Saturday morning.

The dog is currently being checked by animal control for a microchip in an attempt to find an owner.

“Countless hours of training contributed to a successful rescue of this dog,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Butler, one of the rescuers at Station St. Joseph. “Despite only training to rescue humans, many of the same techniques and precautions are applicable to animals and are performed to save them if safe to do so; this was proven today.”

Just after 11 a.m., the Station St. Joseph watchstander overheard on a scanner that the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department was responding to a report of a German Shepherd stranded on the ice on the Paw Paw River in Benton Harbor Township.

Station St. Joseph’s ice rescue team was already out training and was directed to respond by the Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan Command Center in Milwaukee.

When the crew arrived on scene where other response agencies had gathered, it was determined that the other personnel were not equipped to safely conduct the rescue. The dog was on the ice approximately 8 feet from shore.

With the assistance of an animal control officer, who provided food, the crew was able to comfort the dog, place a leash on it, and safely escort him off the river ice.

The dog had initially been observed walking along the river on it’s own, with no persons in sight.

The Coast Guard strongly encourages pet owners to keep a close eye on their pets this time of year to prevent these type of situations. Should something like this occur, call the local authorities and do not attempt to rescue the dog. Bystanders are most helpful by keeping their eyes on the animal that is in immediate danger.

Station St. Joseph plans to keep in touch with local animal control regarding the microchip scan.

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