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Firefighters rescue pit bull from Black River

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Duke, a mixed pit bull, is one lucky dog.

On Thursday morning, Duke somehow ended up jumping into the Black River and had to be rescued by Watertown firefighters. By all accounts, he had quite an adventure.

It started, as firefighters were told, with the pit bull running through the Knowlton Technologies plant on Factory Street, jumping a wall and ending up in the river shortly after 7 a.m. Firefighters found the dog just upstream from Knowlton’s and the Brookfield Power hydro plant’s intakes, where he was in some calm but cold water, Battalion Chief Matthew R. Timerman said. It took about an hour to complete the rescue.

Two members of the department’s swift water rescue team took a boat to rescue Duke. He was found a clinging to the river’s edge, making it to a metal platform. The two firefighters used a catch-pole, provided by Jefferson County Dog Control, to snare Duke and put him into the boat.

The dog ended up with some scrapes and cuts, and missing a tooth, but, overall, was not injured, said Todd L. Cummings, Jefferson County’s dog control office supervisor. The dog control office arranged for a veterinarian to examine the dog. The office impounded him for a day until owner Nicholas R. Walts, 187 E. Main St., got a dog license for his pet.

“He was pretty tired and probably in some pain,” Mr. Cummings said.

Firefighters entered the water near a calmer section of the river near Factory Square and made their way down to the dog, Chief Timerman said. Because Duke is a pit bull, they were a bit worried how he might react once they got there. No problem, he said.

“In all my years, I never saw anything like it,” he said of firefighters’ efforts to save the dog.

“The dog is lucky to be alive,” Mr. Cummings said.

Mr. Walts could not be reached at his home Friday.

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