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Ferndale dog rescued from pipe after being missing for days

WCFD7 crews prepare to free a dog trapped inside an underground pipe (September 6, 2020). Photo: John Devenere

FERNDALE, Wash. — The owners of Casper, an 85-pound 9-year-old deaf white Australian Shepard mix, say he went missing along with their other dog, Roxy, Friday, September 4th. Roxy was picked up by Whatcom Humane Society (WHS) late Friday but it wasn’t until 2 days later, that they received a call from WHS that a dog could be heard barking from under a driveway a half-mile from their house.

WHS, who are under contract to provide animal control services to the City of Ferndale, had responded to a report of a dog trapped in a culvert. According to Casper’s owners, who asked to remain anonymous for this story, WHS staff knew Casper was still at large in the area and called them.

In addition to calling Casper’s owners, WHS also called 911 and, as a result, Ferndale Police and Whatcom County Fire District 7 (WCFD7) were dispatched to the scene to assist with the animal rescue.

Casper’s owners arrived and said they could hear frantic barking from inside a narrow metal underground drainage pipe they estimated to be 50-feet long.

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WCFD7 firefighters used long poles to try to push and pull the dog out but were unable to safely move Casper from his location about 25 feet into the pipe. It was then decided to dig into the yard next to the driveway and cut through the metal culvert pipe to free Casper.

A nearby excavator was called into service and exposed the pipe so firefighters, using a saw from their selection of rescue equipment, could then cut an opening along the top of the pipe.

The owner said that once the opening was peeled back, a WCFD7 EMT had to reach into the pipe up to his shoulders to be able to grab Casper. The EMT then pulled Casper backwards through the pipe to the new opening where, with the assistance of others, they were able to remove the worn out dog from the pipe and into the arms of the awaiting owners.

Culvert pipe after WCFD7 crews cut it open to rescue a dog trapped inside (September 6, 2020). Photo: John Devenere

WCFD7 Lieutenant John Devenere took photos and videos while the rescue played out and Firefighter and EMT Scott Rubright assembled them into the following video montage.

The owners said Casper was uninjured but “very dirty, hungry and thirsty.” It is not known for sure why Casper chose to crawl into the pipe. Casper’s owners said they were told raccoons were known to frequent the pipe and he may have been investigating their scent or even pursued a raccoon into the pipe.

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