Milwaukee Police Nab Peta Award for Saving Dog From Lagoon

Officer Swims Through the Murky Water to Reach Struggling Animal

For Immediate Release:
July 12, 2017

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Milwaukee – A Compassionate Police Department Award is on its way from PETA to the Milwaukee Police Department after officers on patrol at McGovern Park last week saved a dog named Phelps from the lagoon—not once, but twice. They had already pulled him from the water at the lagoon’s edge when he jumped back in and swam to the center of the lagoon, where he started to struggle—so Officer Joe Spingola jumped into the water, swam through the muck to Phelps’ side, and freed him from the weeds and fishing line that he was entangled in. Spingola pulled him back to shore, and he was later reunited with his guardian. Video of the rescue is available on Facebook.

“These officers were ready to do whatever it took to save this dog from drowning in McGovern Park’s lagoon, even if it meant jumping right in,” says PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “PETA is recognizing the Milwaukee Police Department for showing compassion to a little dog whose curiosity could easily have led to his tragic death.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—reminds all dog guardians to keep their animal companions near them on walks, use a leash as well as a comfortable and secure harness, and watch them closely when they’re outdoors. PETA also encourages people to protect all animals, including wildlife, by collecting picnic trash and items such as hooks, fishing wire, and filament left behind by anglers.

The Milwaukee Police Department will receive a framed certificate and a box of delicious vegan cookies.

For more information, 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