Fall 2016
By Mike Johnson – Storm Maintenance Leadworker

I received a call at 3:30 am from “Waterwatch” that a dog was stuck in a storm drain. Waterwatch is the Public Works 24-hour response line. On my way in to respond, I received another call from the patrol sergeant that we had a dog stuck in a pipe and to be thinking of a way to get the dog out. When I arrived at work, I loaded up the push camera and met Officer Josh Hwang on site. He explained to me that we had a 30 – 35 pound Pitbull and a Raccoon stuck in a 12-inch diameter storm drain. The dog had chased the raccoon into the pipe and had lodged himself over 90’ from the entrance. The owner of the dog was gone for the weekend and a friend was watching it. Needless to say he was sick with worry about what he might have to tell the owners when they returned.

Two eyes in the dark e1332449154379I proceeded to push the camera down the pipe, and at about 50’ from the catch-basin, near the other end, I saw two sets of eyes looking at me. I pulled the camera back out of the pipe and noticed the raccoon had followed the camera as it was being removed. Officer Hwang and I stood back quietly at that point and the raccoon proceeded to climb out of the pipe that still contained the dog and into the next downstream pipe. We placed a cone in the downstream pipe so the raccoon couldn’t turn around and come back out!

I then pushed the camera back up the other pipe to where the dog was stuck. We decided to call in the Vactor truck to clean out the pipe to try and get the dog out.

I called Darren Browning (Signal and Sign Maintenance Technician) in and we very carefully cleaned out about 50’ of the pipe. While we were doing this, Fire District 1 personnel told us the dog had backed up to within 10’ of the other end of the pipe. Knowing that, we continued to slowly clean the pipe as we moved closer to the dog. Somehow the dog was scared enough of the approaching, noisy, cleaning nozzle that it was able to slowly move backward and away from it. Finally, it got in reach of Officer Hwang. He pulled the dog (Rue Rue) from the pipe and returned him to the dog sitter who was very thankful for the City’s help.

Rue Rue was wet and tired, but very glad to be out of that pipe!