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Dog swept over West Vancouver waterfalls

Search called off after several hours but volunteers still looking

West Vancouver first responders have stood down from a search for a dog swept over Cypress Falls Friday.

According to West Vancouver Fire and Rescue members, a dog walker was in the area around noon when a black Newfoundland named Raven slipped into the rushing water.

“We did determine that the dog did in fact go over the falls,” said assistant chief Garrith Michael.

To help in the search, the duty chief sent a rope rescue team, a swift water rescue team and a third team to monitor the sides of the creek downstream, hoping Raven would have made it ashore.

“We were unable to find anything,” Michael said. “The river is extremely high now and fast.”

The dog walker himself nearly went into the creek in an attempt to rescue Raven, Michael said.

“This would have been a much worse outcome had he done that,” he said. “Obviously, the dog walker is completely distraught… And it's not (his) fault. This dog was naturally attracted to water, and it just got through the fence and found the water.”

In addition to West Van first responders, members of the professional dog walking community descended on the area to help in the search.

“I'm extremely impressed with that,” Michael said. “People want to help and do care about that community.”

Michael said he understands there will be more people out still volunteering to look for Raven – he plans to make a few passes of the river himself over the weekend – but he’s asking folks to stay back from the creek’s edge.

“We did make contact with the owner of the dog, and they understand and they know that that area, Cypress Park Falls, is extremely treacherous,” he said

Michael added West Van fire members will also be back out using a drone to safely inspect the water.

Just the day before, members of District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services rappelled down to a Wheaton terrier after it fell down a cliff and landed on a ledge next to the Capilano River.

In both cases, firefighters say it’s best for people to make sure their dogs are under control on the trails, especially when rushing water is nearby.

“Be mindful of the environment. Our parks are amazing. They're great to be enjoyed by all, including dogs, but we're seeing time and time again where dogs are getting away and getting themselves into situations where it's quite dangerous to the dog walker or the owner and to rescuers as well,” Michael said.