Officials with the Lakeville Fire Department expressed condolences following a failed rescue attempt of a dog that fell through the ice on Long Pond on Friday.
Fire Chief Michael O’Brien said in a statement about how the department regularly shares its accomplishments on Facebook.
“Today, I must regrettably share a failure with you,” he said.
After receiving the call at around 8 a.m., firefighters arrived at the pond. The dog was 600 feet from the shore, O’Brien said. They saw bystanders attempting a rescue that, upon Lakeville fire officials’ arrival, ceased soon after.
Firefighters deployed a rescue sled to go over the ice. However, the ice “gave way multiple times, preventing the rescuers from advancing quickly out to the dog,” O’Brien said.
One rescuer was able to get within 50 feet of the dog, but O’Brien withdrew the rescuer after the dog submerged under the ice. The last rescuer was taken off the ice at 8:45 a.m.
- Read more: 100th annual Toy for Joy raises $143,671 for children in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin counties
“The most difficult decision made today was the determination of what is a reasonable and appropriate level of risk to save an animal,” O’Brien said. “The tactics that were used today minimized risk to responders and did not approach what would have been employed for a person.”
O’Brien added that ice conditions and the distance from the shore were determining factors in withdrawing rescuers. The department will review its performance and identify deficiencies, he said, with training and resources aimed at “the improvement of our services.”
The department’s statement concluded with a reminder that ponds are currently unsafe and people should use caution around the ice.
“I would like to thank the firefighters for their efforts today,” O’Brien said. “On behalf of the Department, I would like to extend our condolences to the family of the dog. While we are grateful that no person was injured today, we are also very saddened by the loss of the dog.”
Friday’s incident follows a similar situation out of Everett, where a dog died after it was rescued by fire officials on Wednesday.
“Even in the coldest weather, the only truly safe ice is at a skating rink,” the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services previously tweeted when it shared a statement from environmental and public safety officials in response to a string of rescues in 2021.