Dog Rescue Nets Awards for Paterson Fire Department, Animal Control

PETA Honors Groups for Saving Dog Stranded at Base of Waterfall—and Offers Reward for Information on Culprit(s) Who Threw Him off Bridge

For Immediate Release:
August 16, 2018

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Paterson, N.J. – For rescuing a dog who was stranded at the bottom of the Great Falls of the Passaic River after he was reportedly thrown into the river from the footbridge, PETA is sending a Compassionate Fire Department Award to the Paterson Fire Department, Rescue Co. 2, and a Compassionate Action Award to Paterson Animal Control. PETA is also offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction on cruelty-to-animals charges of the person(s) responsible for throwing the dog off the bridge.

Midday on Sunday, August 12, two people admiring the Great Falls took in a horrifying sight: A dog was stranded on a ledge at the base of the waterfall while water was rushing by just feet away. The good Samaritans immediately alerted Paterson Animal Control, which in turn notified the Paterson Fire Department’s Rescue Co. 2, which specializes in technical rescues. Rescuers rappelled approximately 80 feet down the cliff to reach the dog, who was then secured inside a net and carefully pulled up to safety with the assistance of Animal Control. Authorities believe that the 2-year-old dog—now named Paterson—was intentionally thrown off the bridge and had likely been stranded on the ledge for a few days. Although malnourished, he’d miraculously survived the fall with no serious injuries and will soon be available for adoption.

“Thanks to the quick action, technical expertise, and big hearts of Paterson first responders, this terrified dog was removed from a harrowing predicament and gently pulled up to safety and dry ground,” says PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “PETA hopes this story will inspire people everywhere always to help animals in distress—and encourages anyone with information about whoever might have wanted this dog dead to come forward before anyone else gets hurt.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—notes that dogs and cats should never be allowed to roam unattended outdoors, where they may be taken, attacked by other animals, or abused by cruel people.

Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact Paterson Animal Control at 973-881-3640.

For more information about helping animals, please visit

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind