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Stranded Dog Rescued From Dangerous Florida Spillway


Rescuers recovered a stranded dog from a Florida spillway on Tuesday. The dog somehow got trapped in the spillway, which has a 12-foot drop around the rim canal, near Port Mayaca.

Dog found stranded in Florida spillway

According to TC Palm, a woman called the Marin County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday. She spotted a dog stuck in a spillway near the Port Mayaca Cemetery. The spillway was 12 feet down, and the only way out was to swim through waters infested with alligators. The woman dropped orange cones near the area so rescuers could find it.

“If that lady hadn’t called us we would have never seen the dog there…never found it,” said Karen Knuebehl, a supervisor at Animal Services.

Kneubehl responded to the call. Animal Services Officer Shannon McGee joined her.

They found the dog, likely around 1 year old, standing on concrete slab.

“We had some extra rope in the van and we thought we were gonna have to go down the steep wall or walk through the water to actually get there…there was a lot of pretty bad scenarios going on,” Kneubehl said. “But we would have really done anything to get her out of there.”

Rescuers use ‘MacGyvering’ to retrieve stray dog

Kneubehl didn’t want to call the fire department. She was concerned that too many first responders on site might scare the dog.

Coincidentally, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Dillon Hudson was passing through the area. He stopped and offered to assist.

“The FWC officer Hudson pulled up and because I was on the side of the road, asked me if everything was okay,” Kneubehl said. “And I said ‘Well, no, actually I need help getting this dog.’”

Hudson got a ladder, allowing the rescuers to get down near the dog.

“We call it MacGyvering because we have sort of put together whatever we have,” Kneubehl said.

They managed to hoist the dog out of the spillway – without tempting any alligators. The sheriff’s office celebrated the successful rescue with a Facebook post.

It is unclear how long the dog was in the spillway. Evidence points to a day or two. The dog did not have a microchip or ID. She also did not appear to be comfortable around people.

For now, the dog is at the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast, in Palm City, on a five-day stray hold. Assuming no one claims her, she will move on to a foster program so she can receive more socialization.


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