Firefighters Nab PETA Award for Saving Man and Dog From Flood

Water-Rescue Team Uses Ladder Truck to Rescue Pair From Stranded SUV

For Immediate Release:
August 3, 2017

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Fremont County, Colo. – A Compassionate Fire Department Award is on its way from PETA to the Florence Fire Department Swift Water Rescue Team, which came to the aid of David Rooks and his dog, Petey, who were trapped in their SUV after rushing water suddenly flooded a creek off Phantom Canyon Road on Sunday. Video posted to Facebook shows Fire Chief Gary McWilliams using a ladder truck to reach the pair and escort them both to safety, reassuring Petey all the way—and he visited them both a few days after the rescue.

Fire Chief Gary McWilliams with David Rooks and Petey, courtesy of the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office

“The Florence Fire Department Swift Water Rescue Team had the skills, the resources, and the compassion that it took to save a man and his beloved dog from a terrifying flood,” says PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “PETA hopes this story will inspire everyone to look out for other people and animals in danger whenever natural disasters strike.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—encourages guardians to have a plan for natural disasters and prepare for floods by getting their animal companions microchipped and having them wear secure, legible ID tags. Animals should never be left outdoors, tied up, or confined in any way, as they will be trapped and unable to flee rising waters. And in the event of an evacuation, animals must never be left behind to fend for themselves.

The Florence Fire Department Swift Water Rescue Team will receive a framed certificate, a box of delicious vegan cookies, and a copy of The Engine 2 Diet—a Texas firefighter’s 28-day plan for staying in prime firefighting shape by eating plant-based meals.

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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