Dog rescued after becoming trapped in strong current of LA River near Sherman Oaks

Leanne Suter Image
Tuesday, March 29, 2022
2 people, dog rescued from rain-swollen LA River
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Firefighters were able to rescue a dog that became trapped in the strong current of the L.A. River for nearly two hours, following a recent storm.

SHERMAN OAKS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Firefighters were able to rescue a dog that became trapped in the strong current of the Los Angeles River for nearly two hours Monday afternoon, following a recent storm.

Emergency crews responded to the area of Burbank Boulevard and Woodley Avenue near Sherman Oaks shortly after 2 p.m.

Crews were able to get a rescue ring over to a woman who refused it in order to keep ahold of her dog, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Crews then used a rope system to lower one firefighter, and successfully were able to pull the woman out of the river, officials say.

Firefighters then made an attempt to rescue the dog, a large German Shepherd mix named Scooby, but the scared animal fought the rescuer off and broke loose running downriver. The river's water currents were estimated to be moving between five to 10 mph at the time, according to LAFD.

At about 3 p.m., a good Samaritan jumped into the river and managed to get ahold of the dog. After a few minutes of floating down the river, other individuals were able to lower a rope to the man who was able to grab ahold.

Firefighters rescued the good Samaritan but the dog became loose and continued to drift down the river in strong currents.

The good Samaritan, a 28-year-old man, was taken to the hospital with dog bite wounds, according to officials. Scooby's owner was also taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

That rescue prompted LAFD to release a statement that said, "Please do not enter the water to attempt to get the dog. Bystanders doing so put themselves at risk and create yet another human rescue."

Nearly two hours later, crews were finally able to safely lasso Scooby after the dog was corralled by several rescuers in an area where the river flattened out, which allowed firefighters to stand up.

L.A. Animal Services' Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team was on scene to assist with the rescue efforts. The agency later released a photo of Scooby before it was reunited with its owner.

Scooby, a large German Shepard mix dog, was rescued by LAFD crews on March 28, 2022, after becoming trapped in the strong current of the L.A. River following an early spring storm.
Los Angeles Animal Services

The L.A. Fire Department remind everyone of the powerful impact a downpour can make with only six inches of fast-moving water being enough to sweep anyone off their feel. They say it only takes 12 inches to move most cars off a road.