Teamwork saves lucky dog

Amidst a driving snowstorm, a pooch in peril was spotted by Executive Assistant Cindy Homan.

Leaving for home Jan. 11, she spotted an animal. Initially, she thought it was a coyote, which are known to visit the yards; but once she ascertained that it was actually a small chihuahua, the animal lover attempted to corral the K-9. Unsuccessful, she called BRC Police.

Patrolman Tom Aftanas and Director of Police/Risk Management Gerald Conoboy met on the south fire road and spotted the dog, which immediately took off running. Carefully, they chased it through the yard and up the hump. 

“Every time we’d get close, it would take off,” Conoboy said. 

He contacted Stickney Animal Control, and a representative, Pam Barnett, came on-site. Her efforts to capture the animal fared no better though. 

The chase was suspended after the trio lost the dog in the classification yards. Later, Barnett took to social media to search for missing dogs. A lost dog notification matched the critter that had been found on Belt property. The owner of the dog was contacted and escorted on-site by Aftanas, who’d completed his shift. 

“Everyone in the yard was on high alert,” Conoboy said.

Operations were shut down briefly to ensure the dog’s safety and return to its owners. A yardmaster spotted the dog, named Bella, on camera, and the owner eventually was able to call out to the dog and secure it in the middle of the classification yard. The team later learned that Bella is fearful of all people besides it owners, which hampered the rescue effort. 

“The dog jumped in the owner’s arms,” Conoboy said. “It darted out from under a car as soon as the owner called its name. The dog was scared and shivering, but the owners were extremely happy.”