Sheriff’s Department Nets PETA Award For Rescue Of Dog From Burning Car

Deputy Chief Climbs Inside Fiery Vehicle to Retrieve the Terrified Animal

For Immediate Release:
August 25, 2016

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Gary, Ind. – A Compassionate Police Department Award is on its way from PETA to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department in recognition of Deputy Chief Dan Murchek’s rescue of a dog from a burning vehicle on August 14. As flames spread from the car’s engine to its interior, Murchek spotted Bella the dog cowering on the floor of the backseat next to a locked door—so he took a deep breath, climbed in through the driver’s door, and managed to reach back and pull her to safety. “The dog was howling,” Murchek told PETA., – “I figured if I get bit, it is better than the dog burning alive.” Bella was returned to her relieved guardians unharmed.

“This police officer took a tremendous risk as he raced against the clock to save this dog from a painful, terrifying death,” says PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “PETA hopes his bravery and determination will inspire others to step in and help whenever an animal is in danger.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—is sending the Lake County Sheriff’s Department a framed certificate and a box of delicious vegan cookies.

For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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