CRANFORD — Three Cranford police officers kept the holiday season from turning tragic for a local family on Friday night when they acted quickly to rescue a choking dog.
Shortly after 7 p.m. on Dec. 19, Cranford Police received a frantic 9-1-1 call reporting a choking dog in the field adjacent to Walnut Avenue School. During a game of catch, Leo, a Great Dane/Shepherd mix weighing over 140 pounds, began choking and couldn’t breathe when a tennis ball became lodged in his throat.
The first police unit to arrive was Police Officer Robert Jordan. Without hesitation, Jordan encircled the dog with his arms and attempted to clear the dog’s airway using abdominal thrusts. Police officers John Rattigan and Brian Trotter arrived and assisted in the rescue.
When the ball was partially dislodged and the responding officers detected that the Leo was able to breathe, they immediately moved the canine to a waiting patrol car. Leo and his owner, Cranford resident Donna Stone, were transported to Westfield Animal Hospital by Rattigan and Trotter, where waiting staff performed an emergency procedure to completely remove the tennis ball.
Cranford Police Chief James Wozniak was elated at the positive outcome for Leo. “As an animal lover myself, I am well aware of the relationship that exists between dog and owner,” he stated. “I’m glad we were able avert a heartbreaking incident for this family during the holidays.”