A tiny terrier stranded on Mohawk River ice near Lock 11 had to be rescued by airboat Tuesday after he refused to be enticed from his perch, even turning his nose up at a pork chop sandwich.
The dog was recovered around 6:30 p.m. from a piece of ice east of the lock by Amsterdam Police Department canine Officer Steven Pasquarelli, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Liggett and sheriff’s Lt. Burt Wilson. Several other agencies remained on standby.
The nine-pound animal refused to leave the ice and ran away from people who tried to approach him. Not even the pork chop offered to him by the Lock 11 workers, who first spotted the animal around noon, could bring the animal any closer to dry land, said Amsterdam Fire Department Battalion Chief Michael Depasquale. “We spent a couple of hours trying to lure the dog off the ice with a live trap. He was not buying what we were selling,” he said.
When all else failed, the city contacted the sheriff’s office for its multipurpose airboat. Wilson said the airboat “is perfect for these kinds of rescues.”
The boat can be dropped off on land and can take off across snow and ice and then back out. “It is an all season boat on-call for the entire county and for other counties if they need it,” Wilson said. The Sheriff’s Office uses it primarily on the Mohawk River and the Schoharie Creek.
During his day long ordeal, the dog fell into the water at least twice and his body temperature was only 92 degrees when he was rescued, said Amsterdam Animal Control Officer Gina Kline. A dog’s usual body temperature is 101 degrees. “We have no idea how he got down there and we have no idea how he survived as long as he did,” she said.
Kline said the dog was taken to a veterinarian and has made a full recovery. Authorities are trying to determine who owns the dog, but no one has yet come forward to claim it. If no one claims it, the Montgomery County Society to Prevent Cruelty to Animals will try to adopt him out, she said, adding there is an ongoing investigation of the matter.
Without rescue, the animal would have surely perished, Wilson said. “The dog was on floating ice on water. The ice was resting against the wall. He was trapped. There was no hope without assistance.”
Depasquale said this was the third time in four years the city has rescued a dog from the ice. “While we focus on humans, if the opportunity is there to help a dog, we will try and make the save. It is ‘risk versus rewards’ situation. We try not to put anyone’s life in danger,” he said.
Wilson said the call was his first to rescue a dog from the ice. “A life is a life. When we can help out the dogs we do,” he said. “I have two dogs of my own.”