One of the two dogs rescued from a floe after being stranded on Maumee Bay in Toledo for nearly 10 hours has been claimed by its owner, Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle said.
The owner, Larry Jeffrey of 319th Street, said he would come back Friday to bail out the second dog, Ms. Lyle said.
Mary Jeffrey, who answered the door at the home, said the dogs’ names were Lady and Muffin. Lady is the golden retriever, and is still at the pound, and Muffin is the black Labrador retriever that was released to Mr. Jeffrey on Tuesday after he paid $144 in fines, which was what he owed on one dog and partial payment on the second dog.
He owes an additional $24 before he can pick up the second dog, according to the pound. Fines include a penalty for lack of a license and for not wearing a license as well as transporting and kenneling fees. Ms. Jeffrey wasn’t sure how old the dogs were, but thought they were around three or four years old. She said they had lived their lives together.
The dog warden actually sought out Mr. Jeffrey after receiving an anonymous tip on Tuesday morning that the dogs’ names were Lady and Muffin. Employees searched the license data base looking for dogs with those names that matched the dogs’ breeds and lived in Point Place. After finding a match in 2012 licenses, they knocked on Mr. Jeffrey’s door to ask if he was missing his dogs.
“They said they didn’t own the dogs, that they had given them away,” Ms. Lyle said. “But then he showed up [at the dog warden’s office] an hour later to claim them.”
On Friday night, about 40 people who had 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 during the course of the day, but had managed to get back up on the floe, witnesses said.
Although Toledo Police responded, Washington Township rescued the dogs because it has a hovercraft, and Toledo police do not. Washington Township fire officials initially said they would charge the dogs’ owners for the cost of the rescue, but recanted the statement Tuesday.
Charging the owners “is something we’d love to do, but it’s free of charge,” Assistant Chief Jim Binienda said. “It’s a service we provide and if we get called, we'll go do it again.”
Several residents said they feared for the dogs’ safety, and spent the better part of the day watching the dogs run back and forth in the middle of the bay between Grassy Island and 145th Street and Edgewater Drive. 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.
Assistant Chief Binienda said the reason the crew didn’t go out earlier to save the dogs is because there are a lot of logistics that have to be considered.
“We have to look at the weather and we have strict policy and procedures for any ice rescue, whether it’s human or animal,” he said. “It’s not like a normal rescue, ice rescues can be pretty dangerous for us.”
Once the dogs were brought to shore, they were leashed and taken to the dog pound. The dogs came through the ordeal in good shape and did not require any veterinary care, Ms. Lyle said.
Tanya Irwin - The Blade, Toledo, Ohio (MCT)
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