APD officers discuss dog rescue, video goes viral - CBS46 News

APD officers discuss dog rescue, video goes viral

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Source: Atlanta Police Department Source: Atlanta Police Department

When Officer Robert Winkler arrived at the scene of a burning abandoned apartment building, his first instinct was to look for signs of life. Soon, something caught his eye.

“At first, I didn’t realize what it was, but as I got closer to it, it was a dog,” said Winkler. “I just saw this one little paw kick.”

The smoke was getting heavy. Winkler’s body camera captured video as he grabbed the limp dog by the collar to move him.

“I’ve never had any pets,” he said. “I’m not really comfortable with dogs, honestly. The biggest thing I was worried about -- besides it being alive or dead – is, ‘If I grab this dog, is it going to bite me?’ That was my biggest concern. You’re grabbing a dog. It doesn’t know what’s going on.”

The dog was barely breathing and didn’t seem capable of biting anyone at that moment, so Officer Winkler scooped up the male dog and carried him to a safer spot.

“I just started giving it pats where I would guess the lungs and heart would be on a dog.”

Other officers stepped up to assist. As the smoke grew even more intense, Officer Austin Denninger picked up the dog and moved him across the street where he took turns with Winkler patting the dog’s chest.

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APD officers rescue dog from fire at apartment complex

“When it (the dog) finally started to come to, and it caught its breath, it was pretty breathtaking for me myself,” said Denninger.

“When it started coming back around, it spit out stuff, and it started breathing again,” said Winkler. Its eyes opened up. And you’re like, ‘Woah. That worked.’”

Interestingly, Officer Winkler is highly allergic to most animals. He told CBS46 News he broke out in hives after the rescue, but it was worth it, he said.  Eventually, paramedics came over and gave the dog oxygen.

Since this night, animal control officers haven’t been able to find the dog’s owner. “Smokey” as they’re now calling him, is now up for adoption at the Fulton County Animal Shelter.

If no one adopts him, Winkler and Denninger said they’ll be glad to take him in.

 “I’m not allergic to dogs,” Denninger said with a laugh, “so yeah, I guess it would fall on me. I would be honored, though. It was a very kind dog.”

Winkler started a GoFundMe page to raise money for LifeLine Animal Project which provided care for Smokey in the days following his rescue.

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