Feb 18, 2016 6:34 PM

Dogs in danger, first responders say more pups falling through ice during mild NH winter

Source: NH1.com

HUDSON - This winter has kept lakes and ponds fluctuating between freezing and thawing.

First responders across the nation say their ice rescues have changed, with more family pets falling through the ice than humans.

“The dog could run out on a pond that looks frozen, but then it’s really not,” said Carolyn Vanderhorst, Director of Operations at the Manchester Animal Shelter.

Just last week, a golden retriever named Murphy was rescued from a pond in Hudson. His owners told rescuers that he somehow got loose from the backyard. Murphy is fine now, but a dog’s instinct to run and chase could work against them and make them end up as Mother Nature’s prey.

“Even though they could be very well trained, even if they see a squirrel or something, they could run up to it and not realized and find themselves in a bad situation,” said Vanderhorst.

Bigger breeds that weigh more and those known as “water dogs” are at a higher risk of not only falling though the ice but drowning.

Dogs can only tread water for so long and, unlike humans, they don’t always know to call out when they’re in trouble.

“My dog is a runner,” said Brian Paquette of his dog Buster, “So he will run, and I’ll be chasing him on this ice for days.”

No matter how well behaved a dog may be, they have a harder time identifying what is safe, solid ground than humans.

“I lost my husband a few years ago, and she is my everything,” said Alice Hurrell as she held her little dog.

A good rule to go by, if you wouldn’t risk the ice, don’t risk your pet’s life. Keep them close by, on the leash and only walk and play where you're certain it’s safe.

“Unfortunately, I think a lot of the dogs that disappear probably have fallen through the ice, and that’s what’s so sad,” said Vanderhorst.

Jenna Abate is a multimedia journalist for NH1 News. You can email her at jabate@nh1.com and follow her on Twitter, @Jenna_AbateNH1.


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