A 2-year-old white German shepherd dog that wandered away from its owner and onto the partially frozen Des Plaines River on Friday morning died after being pulled from the water and taken to a local animal hospital.
According to Riverside police, the dog’s owner was walking the German shepherd without a leash on a forest preserve trail on the Riverside Lawn side of the river, approximately opposite of the Riverside Township Hall, at about 9:20 a.m.
The dog apparently walked out onto the ice at the edge of the partially frozen river, when the ice gave way and the dog fell into the frigid water. The dog’s owner, a Riverside man, was able to drag the lifeless dog from the water.
At the same time, a woman on the Riverside side of the Des Plaines saw what was happening and ran into the police station to report the incident.
Personnel from the Riverside Fire Department and Riverside Police Department responded to the scene, placed the dog on a stretcher and carried it across the swinging bridge to the police parking lot, where the dog and its owner were placed in a Riverside Public Works vehicle and taken to the VCA Berwyn Animal Hospital. The dog was pronounced dead at the hospital; the dog’s owner was not injured and reportedly refused medical attention.
“I would remind residents with an emphasis toward younger children that they are to stay off of the water during the winter months,” said Police Chief Thomas Weitzel in a press release. “The ice appears to be thicker than it is, and any amount of weight could cause a human or animal to fall into the river. During this incident, the middle of the river was free flowing water and closer to the shore was filled with light ice.”