Firefighters Rescue A Retired K-9 Officer from 54’ Hole In The Ground

“It took first responders 4 hours to pull this police K-9 from the hole”

When Mark Pugh rented some space from Sniff Spot so his retired police K9 could safely run around, he had no idea the day would end with his dog at the bottom of a 54’ hole in the ground.

His 9-year-old German shepherd, Indy, was running around when suddenly he fell rear-first down a 54’ hole that was part of a vertical pit septic system, according to San Diego County officials.

The hole was narrow and there was no way the dog could climb out or for Pugh to get to him, so he immediately called the fire department.

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Pugh, who had adopted Indy, four years prior, was terrified for him. And rightfully so. It took firefighters from several fire departments over four hours to rescue Indy.

Since it wasn’t safe for anyone to climb down into the hole, the firefighters had to use a pulley and lasso to try to pull Indy back to the surface. Since there wasn’t room to maneuver deep in the hole, they were forced to pull Indy up by the neck.

“But because of the way the hole was, nothing was long enough to make it down,” said Ken Gilden of the San Diego Humane Society Emergency Response Team.

“Rescue crews attempted several maneuvers, including sending down many different specialized hooks to Indy.”

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“In the meantime, another firefighter tried lowering a lasso to secure the frightened canine, as time kept slipping by. And nothing was happening, and then right at the end, the dog lifted his head and the firefighter who had the lasso was able to get it around his neck,” Gilden added, “and as soon as he did, they pulled it tight, and we just brought him right up!”

While lifting the trapped dog by his neck was not ideal, few alternatives remained. It was a scary rescue but they were ready to provide aid to resuscitate Indy once he was out of the hole, if needed. Thankfully, he was brought up safely and was soon whisked off to the vet for medical help.

A homeowner in Chula Vista, California rented out his property to give dog lovers a place to let their dogs run and play. But he had no idea that there was a deep hole in the ground that became a hazard due to the recent rains.

According to fire officials, the homeowner where the fall occurred didn’t know about the hole:

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“When I saw it was on a slope, I thought man I bet there was no real warning that that was there,” said Pat Abbott, a professor of geology at San Diego State University who added the recent rain likely caused the incident. “A regular hillside like this, when it gets saturated with water, gravity is pulling on it, we get what is called creep, a hole that was covered up for a long time can get uncovered by this slow downhill pull of gravity.”

Pugh said Indy is hospitalized but didn’t have any broken bones. Indy was swollen and bruised and had an MRI and CT scan to determine the extent of his injuries. He also required several small surgeries to treat some wounds but his blood work came back good.

“He’s doing okay, he’s alert. He’s awake and he’s getting pain meds. He’s had surgery for a couple of wounds,” Indy’s owner, Mark Pugh said.

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Once Indy is out of the hospital, he’ll need some follow-up care but will be happy to get back to his family. We hope you enjoyed this amazing rescue story. As always, please feel free to share with your friends.