Charlottetown police officer rescues dog from manhole

Mitch MacDonald comment@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on February 2, 2016

FILE PHOTO: Markham Long, Charlottetown Police Services.

Const. Markham Long goes down ladder to pluck out large, squirming dog, gets tail wagging as thanks

Charlottetown police officers may now have the title of “dog’s best friend” after performing an unusual recue mission over the weekend.

Police officers found themselves rescuing a dog that had fallen into a 10 to 12 feet uncovered manhole on Paramount Drive Sunday afternoon about 1 p.m.

Sgt. Walter Vessey says the dog’s owner was out walking his canine friend when the incident occurred.

“The dog had fallen down an open manhole... the snowplow had gone by a short period of time before that and dislodged the cover. The dog’s owner wasn’t able to get the dog out,” said Vessey.

After arriving on the scene, Const. Markham Long said he peered into the hole with a flashlight and saw an uninjured but trapped dog - and no way of getting him out.

A ladder was brought in, and Long stripped off much of his gear and went down the hole. It was a large dog, perhaps 80 pounds, and Long said the animal seemed unsure about how he felt about this stranger trying to pick him up.

Long said he got a good hold on the dog, kept him tight despite some squirming, and managed to get him up the ladder to his owners.

“When it came out, it was wagging its tail, running around, and stuff like that,” said Long.

Long's heroism didn't end there, though. There was also something he didn't do: ticket the owner.

“It wasn't on a lead. We do have a dog bylaw so he is supposed to have a lead,” said Long. “But in this case, common sense will prevail.”

Long said the manhole was in a grassy area near a roadway in an industrial area under development, and the cover was likely pushed off by a passing snowplow.

Vessey said it’s extremely uncommon to hear of manhole covers coming loose.

“Those manhole covers fit tight into the holes and they’re heavy and recessed. It’s extremely uncommon.”

(With files by The Canadian Press)