Milwaukee Police Officers Joe Spingola and Mike Smith were in McGovern Park, on the city’s north side, around 6 p.m. on July 5, helping some kids who got their fishing gear tangled in the weeds of the lagoon. That’s when they heard a splash. Looking around to find what it was, they saw movement below the weeds and lily pads. A small dog had fallen or jumped into the lagoon.
Officers Spingola and Smith ran over to it and Officer Spingola managed to reach in and pull the dog out of the water. As soon as the dog’s feet hit the ground, without so much as a thank you, it ran off towards the tot lot where several families were playing.
Minutes later, there was another splash. The dog jumped back into the water. This time it swam straight out to the middle of the lagoon.
Their snare was too short to reach the dog. A county parks employee had a net, but it too was too short. The owners were nowhere to be found. Officer Smith radioed for the Milwaukee Fire Department to bring a boat or a ladder truck that could extend out above the water.
While waiting for the fire department, the officers were trying to coax the dog back to shore. After a few minutes the officers could see the animal was starting to struggle in the thick weeds and muck. That’s when Officer Spingola said he had to go in.
As Officer Spingola was swimming towards the dog, the dog was struggling to keep afloat. When he reached him, the dog was wrapped up in the weeds, tangled in fishing line and had a hook and bobber hanging from him. Officer Smith kept a watchful eye on his partner from the shore.
A few feet off the shoreline the water is only a few feet deep, but then there is a huge drop off to an unknown depth. Deeper than the officer is tall, requiring him to swim. Swimming back to shore with the dog, Officer Spingola kept getting tangled up in the weeds too.
The dog was taken to the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission to be checked out. It appears to be a happy and healthy, eight year old, brown poodle mix. MADACC is hoping the owner will come forward. If this is your dog you can contact MADACC at 414-649-8640.