The decision of the Los Angeles Fire Department to use their tax-payer-funded resources to rescue a German Shepherd from the L.A. River has received some criticism. But the LAFD is unrepentant, and their spokesman Steve Ruda makes a clear case for the choice to save the animal. From L.A. Now:
One was the concern that someone would risk his or her life to save the dog.
“If we did not do anything, there was potential for another human being to enter the river,” Ruda said, citing national statistics showing that of 900 people who die in drownings each year, a third involve would-be rescuers.
Although the current was moving quickly, firefighters determined the water was not that deep, Ruda said. He said it also was an opportunity for rescuers to hone their skills. Even though firefighters train for such incidents, it’s no substitute for real-life conditions.
“Any time we get a chance to practice our craft, it sharpens our skills,” Ruda said. “They felt it was low risk and high return.”
Ruda said he hopes people realize the rescue was rooted in what firefighters consider their most important calling, saving lives.
“It was an animal life,” he said. “It is a life.”
The owner of the dog, an elderly Maywood woman, has come forward to claim her pet. The lucky pup’s name is Spikey.
Photo by Mark Boster for the L.A. Times
Previously on FBLA:
Fire Crews Save Dog From L.A. River