The Times West Virginian

June 11, 2013

Dog rescue at Valley Falls State Park could lead to charges

By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Despite other media reports, no decision has been made to charge or not charge anyone involved in the dog rescue at Valley Falls State Park on Saturday, said park superintendent Ron Fawcett.

“It’s still under investigation,” he said Monday night.

A man and a woman were swimming in the river along with a 3-year-old girl. They had two dogs, both of which were on leashes, which is required by state rules. But they didn’t have hold of the dogs, he said.

“While they were swimming, they turned the dogs loose on the rock above,” Fawcett said.

One of the dogs leaped off a 2 1/2-foot ledge, was swept over the first set of falls and became stranded on the rocks Saturday, Fawcett said. Two fishermen jumped in to rescue it, and one of them was nearly swept over the second set of falls.

Fawcett said he screamed and gestured at the fishermen to stop, but they couldn’t hear him over the roar of the water.

The Winfield Volunteer Fire Department responded with help.

The issue is that swimming and wading are banned in the swiftly moving river. The question is whether diving into the water to save the dog is considered swimming.


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