About 40 gather on shore as authorities rescue 2 dogs stranded on Maumee Bay ice for nearly 10 hours

2/16/2013
BY TANYA IRWIN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Two dogs rescued tonight from an ice floe after being stranded on Maumee Bay for almost 10 hours have been taken to the Lucas County dog pound.

About 40 people gathered on the shore burst into cheers as a two-man crew from the Washington Township Fire Department brought the soaking wet golden retriever and black Labrador retriever to safety at about 6:45 p.m. aboard a hovercraft. The dogs had fallen through the ice several times over the course of the day, but had managed to get back up on the floe, witnesses said. 

Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle said late today that the dogs were doing fine and did not require emergency veterinary care. No one had reported the dogs missing as of today, she said.

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The pound will hold them for three days to give their owners a chance to come forward and claim them. If they do not, they will be evaluated and possibly placed up for adoption.

Several local residents said they had spent the better part of the day watching the dogs, sometimes with binoculars when they got far from the shore, and fearing for their safety. The dogs were first spotted about 9 a.m. and as the day went on, word got out on the Point Place Block Watch Facebook page about their plight.

Deputy dog warden Ron Cannon takes the two dogs who  were stranded on the ice all day, into custody late today.
Deputy dog warden Ron Cannon takes the two dogs who were stranded on the ice all day, into custody late today.

The dogs ran back and forth on the ice floe in the middle of the bay between Grassy Island and 145th Street and Edgewater Drive in Toledo. At times, they were very close to Grassy Island; other times they came closer to the shore along Edgewater Drive. 

Several residents expressed frustration that no authorities had tried to save the dogs. Area resident Angi Holt-Parks said she spent the better part of the day on the shore calling for the dogs until her voice was hoarse. At one point, the dogs were very close to the shore at Edgewater Drive, but she still couldn't get them to come to her.

"I was frustrated and crying," she said. "I called everyone I could think of to try to get them help. They are someone's family members, they need to be saved." 

Assistant Chief Binienda said the fire department didn't go out sooner because of safety concerns. The water and thin ice were not good conditions for operating the hovercraft, he said.

"We called the Coast Guard for help and they said they don't rescue dogs," he said.

After finally being given the OK to do so at about 6:30 p.m., Washington Township Fire Dept. Captain Bill Long drove the hovercraft out into the bay with another fire official. He said the dogs initially ran away from the boat.

"They were really scared," he said. "At one point one of them fell in and when they got back on the ice, we were able to get them."

Contact Tanya Irwin at: tirwin@theblade.com or 419-724-6066.