New Jersey

Rescuers Save Dog Trapped on Ledge Below New Jersey Waterfall

What to Know

  • Rescuers saved a dog after it found itself trapped on a ledge below a waterfall in Paterson on Sunday
  • The dog was trapped near the base of the Great Falls
  • A firefighter rappelled down to the dog and rescuers lifted the dog up to a bridge. The dog is expected to make a full recovery

A team of rescuers saved a dog after it found itself trapped on a ledge below a waterfall in Paterson on Sunday.

Denville resident Warren McComas and his wife were visiting Paterson Great Falls Park when he spotted something moving near the base of the Great Falls, he told News 4 New York.

“I was looking down… and then I said, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s a dog,’” McComas said. Realizing the dog was stuck, McComas’ wife called 911, he said.

When rescuers arrived at the scene, they decided to send Paterson Fire Department Captain Scott Parkin down to the ledge to coax the dog out.

After Parkin rappelled down to the dog — who was about 75 feet from a bridge above the river — he talked to the pooch to calm him down and gave him some treats, he recalled.

“I think once he realized what I was there for, he settled down,” Parkin said.

After a few minutes, Parkin was able to step around the dog, scoop him up and secure him in a netted bag. Officers on the bridge slowly hoisted the bag up and released the dog safely onto dry land.

The dog may have swum across to the cliff when the water was lower, Parkin said.

John DeCando, Paterson’s chief animal control officer, called the heroic rescue a “combined effort.”

“This is a great thing, because that dog… probably would have drowned, especially with all the water we had in the last couple days,” he said.

The dog appeared to have a few bruises, but is expected to make a “full recovery,” DeCando said. Rescuers planned to take him to the Ramapo Bergen Animal Rescue for treatment.

It wasn’t the first time a member of the Parkin family rescued a dog from the falls. In 1976, Parkin’s father — who was also a firefighter — performed an almost-identical rescue to save a German Shepherd, Parkin said.

“It’s quite a thrill. [My dad is] 94 now, so I can’t wait to get back to the fire house and call him,” he said.

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