Search, rescue team saves dog that fell 350 feet off cliff

English sheep dog that search and rescue crews rescued from a fall off Gooseberry Mesa, Washington County, Utah, April 7, 2016| Photo courtesy of Washington County Search and Rescue, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Washington County Search and Rescue crews went to great lengths to save a dog named Toby that fell 350 feet down a cliff during a family outing at Gooseberry Mesa Thursday afternoon.

Rope used by search and rescue crews for rapelling shows distance of 350-foot cliff where a dog fell from Gooseberry Mesa, Washington County, Utah, April 7, 2016| Photo courtesy of Washington County Search and Rescue, St. George News
Rope used by search and rescue crews for rapelling shows distance of 350-foot cliff where a dog fell from Gooseberry Mesa, Washington County, Utah, April 7, 2016| Photo courtesy of Washington County Search and Rescue, St. George News

The team received a call from the St. George Communications Center reporting a dog injured from falling 350 feet down a steep cliff, asking if the search and rescue team could respond, Washington County Search and Rescue Deputy Darrell Cashin said.

Since it was an unusual request, involving an animal rescue, Cashin said, he needed approval to assemble the team and called Sheriff Cory Pulsipher who approved the rescue operation immediately, telling Cashin, “Go do it.”

A team of five voluntarily responded to Gooseberry Mesa equipped with high-angle rope rescue equipment.

“We did it because it’s the right thing to do,” Cashin said.

The family told rescuers they were mountain biking at Gooseberry Mesa and stopped for lunch when their dog Toby– a standard poodle-sheepdog mix – began running toward the edge of the cliff.  As he began turning back to safety, Toby encountered loose rocks at the edge of the ridge and lost his footing.

Once Toby went over the edge, he fell at least 80-100 feet in a free fall and continued falling while hitting the side of the cliff the rest of the way down.

Search and Rescue volunteer Mike Thomas, who also serves on the team’s K-9 unit, rappelled down the cliff to reach Toby and assess his injuries.

The dog was conscious but still, Cashin said, and Thomas called a veterinarian for assistance.

After Thomas provided emergency care to stabilize and properly muzzle the dog for transport, Cashin said, the team lifted him to the top of the cliff in a stokes basket – a type of litter or stretcher.

Thomas then took him to the veterinarian’s office for treatment.

“That was an incredibly long fall, and the dog is lucky to be alive,” Cashin said. “The only visible injury was a large bump on the animal’s head, but he’s going to spend the night at the veterinarian’s clinic for observation.”

As of 11 p.m. Thursday, Toby  was doing fine, Thomas told St. George News Friday.

Washington County Search and Rescue is made up of unpaid volunteers who use their own equipment to perform rescue missions under the direction of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Gooseberry Mesa is east of Hurricane off Highway 59.  The Gooseberry Mesa trail network was created by the Harris brothers over 20 years ago and sits at 5,200 feet elevation.

St. George News Editor-in-Chief Joyce Kuzmanic contributed to this report.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

9 Comments

  • Bender April 8, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Tobydog may be a knucklehead.

  • RealMcCoy April 8, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Nice work guys!

  • ladybugavenger April 8, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Did you give him a citation?

    • RealMcCoy April 8, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      You’re barking up the wrong tree.
      This tail has a happy ending.
      Paws and reflect on that.

      Sorry, didn’t mean to sound so ruff…
      I won’t hound you about it anymore…

    • .... April 9, 2016 at 3:48 pm

      A citation , really ?

      • RealMcCoy April 9, 2016 at 3:59 pm

        Yes local police HAVE had a tendency to give a citation to anything going over a cliff lately.

        • .... April 9, 2016 at 7:42 pm

          Jump off a cliff and find out !

          • RealMcCoy April 11, 2016 at 10:26 am

            This online rag has been censoring comments. I don’t see you respond as often; are they blocking your comments too?

  • Common Sense April 9, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Leashing your pet for their safety is always a good idea.

Leave a Reply