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Rockdale Fire Dept. recognized by PETA for dog rescue

Rescuers from Rockdale Fire and Rescue and Animal Control gather around the dog Leslie they just rescued Saturday from the well on her family's property in north Rockdale County. Leslie was trapped in the well for seven days. She is held by her owner, Melissa Johnson. 

Rescuers from Rockdale Fire and Rescue and Animal Control gather around the dog Leslie they just rescued Saturday from the well on her family's property in north Rockdale County. Leslie was trapped in the well for seven days. She is held by her owner, Melissa Johnson. 

CONYERS -- Last week's rescue of a Rockdale County dog that had been trapped in a well for a week garnered national attention, with the People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recognizing county firefighters with an award presentation.

The Norfolk, Va.-based animal rights organization announced Friday it had awarded the Rockdale County Department of Fire and Rescue its Compassionate Fire Department Award for the department's rescue of Leslie, a Rottweiler-Labrador mix, on Dec. 3.

"These firefighters showed a lot of compassion and know-how in rescuing Leslie," PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement. "Rockdale is very fortunate to have first responders who are ready to protect and serve not only human residents but also their beloved animal companions."

Leslie had apparently been trapped in the 20-foot-deep well on her family's property off Hightower Trail in north Rockdale County for a week. Leslie's owner, Melissa Johnson, and her family searched for the dog all week before trying again near an old barn where Johnson's great-grandfather once farmed adjacent to their property.

Fire and Rescue responded with Animal Control officers after being called to the residence. One of the rescuers used a ladder to descend into the well and attach a harness to Leslie, who was lifted up and reunited with Johnson.

The department will receive a framed certificate, a letter of appreciation from PETA, a box of vegan chocolates, and a package of special oxygen masks designed specifically for dogs, cats and other animals, according to the statement.

The organization also noted that Leslie was adopted from a local animal shelter and encouraged people thinking about getting a companion dog or cat to follow that example instead of buying from a pet store or breeder. PETA also encourages pet owners, or guardians, to have their dogs and cats spayed or neutered.

PETA regularly recognizes fire departments for rescue efforts involving animals. A web search showed that fire departments in Wausau, Wis., and Yuma, Ariz., received the award this year. The Atlanta Fire Department was presented the award last year for rescuing a dog from a burning apartment complex.