The Huntsville Fire Department (HFD) in Ontario recently told residents to stop asking it to rescue companion animals and wildlife who have become stranded on frozen waterways. So we rushed a letter straight to the desks of department officials urging them to reconsider this cruel policy, which also instructs residents not to attempt to rescue the animals themselves.
We’re calling on the HFD to do what’s decent and right by helping all Huntsville’s inhabitants who are in trouble, regardless of species. By following the great example set by fire departments across the country that respond to animals in distress, the HFD could send a powerful message of kindness to people everywhere.
Just this month alone, PETA has given awards to several terrific fire departments for rescuing animals, including departments in Henrico County, Virginia, for saving a duck who was stuck on the ice of a retention pond; in Wright City, Missouri, for pulling a dog to safety from a frozen pond; and in Trumansburg, New York, for reuniting a dog who was stranded on the ice of a frozen lake with her guardian.
Let’s hope the HFD will decide to be the kind of heroes people want firefighters to be by helping any individual in danger—regardless of the victim’s species. Each of us can help rescue animals in our own community by notifying police and/or animal control officials immediately if we see an animal in danger or being treated cruelly (contact PETA if local authorities are unresponsive), encouraging neighbors to let chained dogs live indoors, and taking stray animals to a shelter. Remember: Don’t give up until the animal in need has been helped.