Loudoun County animal control officers practice water rescues
Loudoun county animal control officers conducted water rescue training in the Potomac River Tuesday.
They're gearing up for Wednesday, when they'll practice rescuing stuffed animals from the water and even a live dog. Currents at the training site can race as fast as 20 miles an hour.
“You get in areas where the water gets really moving and it does not take much to sweep you off your feet,” said Ashlynne Meiklejohn of the Hamilton volunteer rescue squad.
When a dog leaps or falls into the river, experts say it's not uncommon for a concerned owner to jump right in behind it.
“Quite often a person and their dog is out there and we need to bring them both back to shore. And how can we do that without harming the dog or the dog harming us,” said Kim Little, a swift water rescue trainer.
When dealing with humans, rescuers sometimes explain their strategy to the victim, but with animals, that's not possible.
‘They don't talk back they don't tell us what's trapped, what's caught, how they feel, what they need so we just have to assess the situation based on our training,” said Chris Brosan of Loudon county animal control.
Rescuers say most calls for animal emergencies involve dogs, but in this part of the region, there's a lot of livestock and some calls do involve cattle and horses.
“Two years ago, we had five cows in the ice that we had to pull out so it's definitely something we use to train for those situations,” said Chris Brosan, also of the county’s animal control.
Rescuers hope education will prevent future emergencies. Most importantly, they say it's irresponsible to bring a dog to the river without a leash or a doggie life jacket.
The training was hosted by Wag'N Enterprises, a Virginia-based pet safety company.
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