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FOX 5 San Diego

Dog rescued from fall into septic tank in recovery, no broken bones

By Zara Barker,


CHULA VISTA, Calif. — The German Shepherd who was rescued out of a hole inside a Chula Vista backyard Wednesday is in a specialty animal hospital recovering after the fall.

Indy’s owner, Mark Pugh, said Indy does not have any broken bones. Indy is now at Veteran Specialty Hospital in La Jolla, his second hospital since the fall.

Pugh said Indy fell about 54 feet and seemed to have fallen in, butt first.

“He was swollen and bruised,” Pugh said.

Pugh said Indy has had several small surgeries for various wounds, but all of his blood work has come back in Indy’s favor. He said the veterinarians are also doing MRI and CT scans on Indy’s neck and back.

“They’re your kids, they’re your four pawed kids,” Pugh said.

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Indy is a former police dog who was no longer in service because of an eye condition. Pugh said he adopted Indy four years ago from a Jamul breeder after Indy was no longer a police K-9.

Officials originally believed Indy fell into a well, but San Diego County officials said it was a vertical pit septic system. The daring rescue took nearly three hours.

According to fire officials, the home owner where this fall occurred did not know about the hole. Pugh had rented time and space through Sniff Spot, a service to rent space for your dog to run.

“When I saw it was on a slope, I thought man I bet there was no real warning that that was there,” said Pat Abbott, a professor of geology at San Diego State University who added the recent rain likely caused the incident. “A regular hill side like this, when it gets saturated with water, gravity is pulling on it, we get what is called creep, a hole that was covered up for a long time, can get uncovered by this slow downhill pull of gravity.”

Abbott says it can be common people don’t know about wells and septic systems in their yard because they didn’t keep records.

Pugh said he is hoping to have Indy back home in the next few days. He said Indy’s little sister Stella has been missing him.

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