Parish crews rescue dog from drainage line

Staff reports
Ascension Parish Animal Control Officer Curt Trepagnier carries the dog to the animal control truck once it was secured in the netting.

Through a coordinated effort by the Ascension Parish Animal Control Department, the Department of Public Works, and local firefighters, a dog trapped in the drainage system below the Norwood Lakes Subdivision was rescued Wednesday and is in veterinary care, said parish officials.

“I’ve got to commend our employees,” said Parish President Tommy Martinez. “This was not your usual call-out and their perseverance came to the forefront. I’m also glad the dog is in good hands and will be cared for.”

Mike LeBlanc, director of the parish’s Animal Control Department, said the medium-sized Chow-mix female looked to be approximately a year old. Although weak and exhausted from being in the drainage system for at least one week, LeBlanc said the dog is being cleaned and fed. He said she would be placed in a holding kennel for five days at the animal control facility following her check-up by the veterinarian.

“We’ll see if anyone comes forward to claim ownership of the dog during that time,” LeBlanc said. “One positive note to this story is that a rescue group has already contacted us and wants to adopt her if she is not claimed.”

Animal control officers and Department of Public Works employees responded on February 10 to a call of a dog trapped in one of the subdivision’s catch basin traps used for water collection drainage on Chrissy Drive.

“When our people got there and took the cover off of the catch basin, the dog retreated back into the subdivision drainage system through a network of piping,” said DPW Director Ronnie Fairchild. “This happened subsequent times when we returned to the scene.”

On Wednesday, parish crews were about to send an exercise air balloon ball through the two-foot diameter, 50-yard pipe using pressurized water in order to move the dog into the end at the catch basin

Several minutes later after the sound of pressurized water reverberated through the neighborhood, the dog came out of the pipe into the catch basin trap. Animal control officers quickly netted the animal as DPW workers used wood planks to block the pipe’s escape route. Showing signs of exhaustion, the wet dog was placed in the animal control truck’s animal cage where she was quickly covered with blankets.

Despite concerns voiced by parish resident on television news reports stating worries of their children falling into the drainage catch basins, Fairchild said the basins are designed to prevent that from happening.

“The openings of the catch basins at the street level are narrow enough to prevent anyone from falling in, including this dog,” Fairchild said. “I believe this dog entered this system through the exhaust tail line that dumps into a pond. She may have been chasing a nutria or other animal into the pipe at the pond.”

LeBlanc said since the story of the dog trapped in the drainage line aired on television, calls have been steadily coming in at the animal shelter about the dog.

“They all wanted to come in and adopt this dog,” LeBlanc said. “We’ve told everyone that the dog will probably be adopted soon but don’t let that stop them from coming in to the Ascension Parish Animal Shelter. We’ve got many dogs, and cats, needing a loving home to come home to.”