Dog stuck under Pier 6 defies rescue attempts

Restaurant staff to try to get spaniel today

November 27, 1999|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

Frustrated by failed attempts by the Baltimore Police and Fire departments to rescue a cocker spaniel trapped under Pier Six since Tuesday, the general manager of an Inner Harbor restaurant plans to launch his own mission this morning.

A four-hour rescue attempt failed yesterday when Fire Department divers, facing high tide and an approaching storm, refused to risk their lives for the black-and-white dog.

"They are not going underneath that pier and putting their lives in danger for a dog," said Robert Anderson, director of Baltimore Animal Control.

Mark C. Herrmann, 34, general manager of McCormick and Schmick's Seafood Restaurant, said he will try to rescue the dog this morning by lowering an employee into the water on a rope.

For the past four days, Herrmann has seen the dog swimming in the Patapsco River channel off Pier Six between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. He will try to scoop the animal from the water about the same time this morning.

"He will likely be swimming back and forth whimpering," Herrmann said. "The hard part is going to be [keeping] him from biting."

`Really upset'

The dog, weighing about 40 pounds, was first spotted near McCormick and Schmick's restaurant on Eastern Avenue by employees. A restaurant worker heard howling and saw a man whom restaurant employees identified as a Philadelphia businessman trying to rescue the dog.

"He was lying on the pier trying to get the dog to swim out," said Jennifer Knowlas, a 28-year-old hostess who said the dog sounds "really upset" when it howls.

On Tuesday, Knowlas called the Fire Department, police, animal control and the Humane Society, but all refused to get involved.

By Wednesday, as more calls from angry tourists and Inner Harbor employees filtered in, the city police marine unit began searching for the dog but could not locate it, according to Sgt. Paul Dean.

Said Dean: "We figured it had drowned."

Steak as bait

Police spotted the dog about noon yesterday, and within minutes, a rescue attempt began. McCormick and Schmick's gave police a piece of rare sirloin to dangle off the side of their boat to try to lure the dog out from under the pier.

The dog swam to the steak and grabbed it.

"But before [they] could put a dog noose around the dog," Dean said, "it dropped the steak and went back underneath the pier."

Another rescue attempt

Water washes under most of the pier, which stretches about 200 yards into the Patapsco. Dean believes the dog may be curling up on a dry spot where wooden planks connect the pier to land.

"Every time we got close to him, he went back under the pier," Dean said.

The Department of Public Works, which maintains the piers, has no plans to cut a hole in the pier. The Police Department said it will wait for the dog to appear today before attempting another rescue.

No one has come forward to claim the dog, which could be one of more than 30,000 strays in the city.

If the dog is rescued, Herrmann said he will take it to his home in Mount Airy, where he operates a dog kennel. Yesterday, the Humane Society told Herrmann that if it takes custody, the dog will be destroyed if it is not adopted within five days.

Calls to restaurant

The trapped animal and rescue effort have become an attraction for tourists and curiosity-seekers.

"I went for a walk down by the harbor, and I saw three cops, a police boat and what looked like a stretcher," said Patricia Dwyer of Glen Rock, Pa. "I thought someone had drowned."

Knowlas said at least a half-dozen people called the restaurant to see if the dog had been rescued. "We did try to feed it bread one day, and the sea gulls ate it," Knowlas said.

Dean said today may be the last chance to rescue the spaniel.

"If he doesn't get out of there soon, he is either going to starve to death or drown," he said.

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