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Dog Saved from Shark Infested Waters
Deputy LeAna Cudzilo is honored for her selfless rescue

Deputy LeAna Cudzilo was recently awarded Deputy of the Month by the Manatee County Sheriff's Department in Florida for saving a runaway pup from shark infested waters.

Back in August, a Coonhound mix named Fern was startled by the new invisible electric fence installed in her yard. The surprise shock caused her to run through the "barrier" and fall off of a nearby boat dock. The scared pup ended up in the ocean late at night, howling for help.

Fortunately Deputy LeAna arrived on the scene and quickly took control of the rescue. She asked the dog's family to get in a boat and help her get Fern back to shore. However, Fern was scared of the boat's motor, making it difficult to pull her to safety. LeAna also noticed people shark fishing on the pier, meaning the situation was worse than she originally thought. By now Fern was also starting to struggle to stay afloat as exhaustion set in. LeAna knew she had to take action fast.  Ignoring the threat of sharks and fishing hooks in the dark ocean, LeAna removed her belt and vest and jumped into the 25 feet deep water and guided Fern back to safety.

According to Sheriff Brad Steube, the Department decided to honor LeAna for going beyond the call of duty and averting the tragic loss of a pet.

With so many negative incidents involving law enforcement and dogs recently, it's always great to hear a positive story. I'm also glad that Fern was reunited with her family and hope they will reconsider the invisible fence.

There are many reasons I don't like electric fences--the electric shock itself, the possibility of trapping pets in an area that other dangerous animals can enter, the fact that some dogs can run through the shock, etc. Fern's plight highlights how easily the product's flaws can end up in a tragic situation.


JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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