Good Samaritans rescue dog stranded for hours on icy Delaware River

TRENTON, N.J. - January 26, 2014

'Duke' is one lucky dog thanks to Russ Miller and Ciro Silvestri.

"I didn't think. I just went out there and got him. We had the canoe in case anything happens," said Miller.

What made them decide to do what they did?

"I love animals, that's it," said Silvestri.

'Duke' wandered onto the river earlier Sunday afternoon.

People spotted him stranded and Trenton fire and police were called.

Crews came to the scene but opted not do anything.

After more than four hours in the frigid weather, Ewing Animal Control felt 'Duke' had little time. Officials there called Miller.

"They said, 'Get down here.' I got a kayak and got a wet suit," said Miller.

Silvestri heard about the situation from a relative and he rushed to the scene.

"She said that fire department isn't really wanting to do anything about it, they don't want to endanger themselves. If they are not going to do something, I will," said Silvestri.

Just before 6:00 p.m., after police and fire had left, the two decided to make their move.

Pushing a kayak and using small steps on the rocky ice, they slowly made their way to 'Duke.'

About 15 minutes later they were back on land.

Did they ever feel like the ice was about to give way?

"Oh yeah, a couple of times," said Miller.

"He was scared, he was sitting still. He wasn't moving for us so we had to just pick him up and put him on the canoe and go," said Silvestri.

Shortly after the rescue, the dog's owner rushed to the scene in tears.

Keonna Wilson says her dog escaped her backyard after being let out to go to the bathroom. A relative saw the dramatic rescue underway on Action News.

"We had been missing our dog for the last three days. I went to every animal shelter and everything looking for him. I was just about to put out flyers and then I got the call," said Wilson.

Ewing Animal Shelter officials say 'Duke' appears to be fine, in large part to the two men who decided to cross the Delaware River.

"I just want to thank whoever did it. I thank you so much for risking your life for the safety of my dog and that he is okay and that the men are ok," said Wilson.

Neither Miller or Silvestri were harmed in the process.

However officials stress that both men put themselves and others at risk. People are urged not to go out into the icy waters, as it is seriously dangerous.

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