A golden lab/retriever and a black labrador have been rescued after they spent hours stranded on ice in Maumee Bay. Public outcry from Toledoans may have helped save their lives.
The dogs were stranded on the ice just north of Grassey Island near the mud flats, where there are stretches where the wind has blown the ice and there's open water. They were there for about eight hours before being rescued.
"From what I observed, they were just walking around in circles," said onlooker Zac Bussie. "Every once in awhile it looked like they were sitting down to probably rest their cold paws."
Asst. Fire Chief Jim Binienda said they were hesitant to launch rescue hovercrafts.
"To go that far out with our equipment, and putting our people at risk rescuing dogs – that's another situation," he said.
That caused some frustration for the crowd concerned for the dogs' safety. Public concern was so strong that Washington Township Police had to prevent people from going out on independent rescue missions because of safety issues.
At about 6:45 Friday night, crews with Washington Township Fire and Rescue loaded up two hovercrafts and zoomed out into the icy water to get the dogs.
At first, they were afraid and video showed the dogs running away from the hovercrafts. But eventually - rescuers were successful in bringing them aboard and back to land.
They looked cold and wet when rescuers brought them ashore, and the first concern for their well-being was warming them up and calming them down.
"They're in pretty good shape for being out there running around," said Captain William Long of the Washington Township Fire Department. "The only way we caught up to them is because they fell through an open spot on the ice out there."
The dogs were taken to the Lucas County Dog Warden's Office to be examined. No word yet on their owner.
Editor's note: We received a huge viewer response on this story. Many of you were concerned for the safety of the dogs and you let us know on Facebook and via several emails into our newsroom. We want to thank the concerned citizens of Toledo who helped bring attention to this issue.