A resilient Pit Bull mix called Duke is fortunate to be alive after taking a tumble into the Black River Thursday. The dog spent nearly an hour in the chilly waters before finally being pulled to safety with a catch pole, a tool used to loop the animal about the neck and brought to the scene by Jefferson County Dog Control.
Firefighters were told the dog tore through the Knowlton Technologies, Factory Street, sometime around 7 a. m., then leped over a wall and continued down the steep rocks into the river. It is still unknown what caused the animal to enter the work plant in the first place or why he seemed to be in such a hurry.
Duke was located a short distance upstream where the water was fortunately calmer, according to Battalion Chief Matthew R. Timerman. However, the dog was unable to climb out on his own and firefighters used a boat to reach him. They reported finding the dog at the edge of the river attempting to climb onto a metal platform, part of the nearby hydro plant's intake.
Typical breed-related misconceptions no doubt inspired the fire chief to tell the Watertown Daily Times firefighters were "a bit worried" about how the dog might react because he is a "Pit Bull." Common sense demands that any animal in a similar situation would be frightened, possibly injured and should be approached with care no matter what the breed.
Duke's adventure ended on the upswing though, as attested to by the supervisor of Jefferson County dog control, Todd L. Cummings. Although the dog was impounded until his owner, Nicholas R. Walts of 187 E. Main St, obtained a license for him, the situation could have ended unhappily. Mr. Cummings noted that although the dog had sustained some minor lacerations and lost a tooth, he was otherwise in good shape.
It is unknown whether the dog was redeemed by Mr. Walts or if he remains in the county pound. It is also hoped the owner will be reminded of the local leash law and its purpose, which is to protect pets from the dangers of the road and river. The owner might also be reminded of the dangers faced by the breed from those who either seek to exploit Pit Bulls for their own illegal purpose, or torment them out of hate and ignorance.
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