It was the best of weeks, it was the worst of weeks for dogs in Newport Beach. For the water bowl is half full view, look to firefighters in the city being honored by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for saving a dog and her master from a steep ravine. If that doesn't choke you up, this will: a large, dead dog was found leashed to a cinder block a mile off the Newport coast.
Luna, a 5 1/2-month-old puppy, got spooked by another dog two Friday afternoons ago and ran off. Her owner, Ashley Engle, searched for hours before spotting Luna stranded on a ledge of a steep ravine. Engle climbed up after her pooch but became stuck as well. A firefighter rappelled down the cliff, fit Engle with a harness, and lifted both her and Luna up to safety.
"This dog is lucky to have such a caring and brave guardian, and thanks to the Newport Beach Fire Department's determination and know-how, both of them made it safely home," says PETA Senior Director Colleen O'Brien. "PETA hopes their story will inspire others to come to the aid of animals in need."
Besides sending the fire department a framed certificate like the one depicted on the opener page, PETA sent a box of vegan cookies and a copy of The Engine 2 Diet, which it describes as "a Texas firefighter's 28-day plan for staying in prime firefighting shape by eating a plant-based diet." (Um … thanks?)
PETA also sent a box of the vegan cookies to Engle and, for Luna, vegan dog treats and something she'll hopefully use without putting up a fuss: a new leash and harness.
As for the story without a happy ending, the Newport Beach Police Department, which handles Animal Control services in the beach town as well, was called out to investigate the heavily decomposed animal discovered attached to a cinder block in the ocean two Saturday afternoons ago.
The location was a mile west of the Newport Beach Pier, but investigators could not determine if the large breed dog with brown fur was alive or dead when it went into the water, let alone whether it was dumped from a boat or the shore before drifting out.
If it is eventually determined the dog was alive, cops have an animal cruelty case, according to Jennifer Manzella, the city police spokeswoman who also noted that if the canine was dead, it would be an improper disposal case.
Obviously, investigators need a witness or witnesses to fill in the holes. Call 949.644.3717 if you can help.