BWG Firefighters Zak Katzand Ian Poot rescue a dog from the Summerlyn stormwater management pond in Bradford, on Saturday March 11, 2017. Paul Novosad/Photographer
Bradford West Gwillimbury Fire & Emergency services undertook a dramatic rescue on Saturday, March 11. At 8:30 a.m. a Bradford resident was walking his dog, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, when the dog raced out over the partially-frozen surface of the stormwater pond at Summerlyn Trail and Holland St. West, attracted by some birds, and plunged through the thin ice.
The owner attempted to rescue his dog, and also broke through the ice into the frigid, waist-deep water. He was able to reach shore on his own, but his dog remained struggling in the water.
The call came in to Fire & Emergency Services as an “ice water rescue.” Firefighters donned survival suits and entered the pond to quickly rescue the dog. Both the owner and pet, suffering from hypothermia, warmed up in the fire truck, until Paramedics arrived on scene. The owner was taken to hospital for observation; the dog was driven home by firefighters.
The incident led Fire Chief Kevin Gallant to issue a warning, both to pet owners and to parents. “It doesn't matter if it's a lake, a river, a pond, or even one of these retention ponds... you do not know what the condition of the ice is,” especially after the wild temperature swings in early March, and recent high winds.
Gallant urged dog owners to keep their pets on leashes – and if they go through the ice, to call 911 rather than attempting a rescue. “Because then we'll be looking at pulling a person out.”
With unstable ice conditions, slippery banks and icy water temperatures, hypothermia is a danger.