March 12, 2001


Kent Police Officer Joseph Peters didn’t think twice about endangering his own life in order to save the life of a large mixed breed Labrador that fell through the ice on Lake Carmel.

It was shortly after 6:30 a.m. Sunday when Peters received word that a dog had fallen through the ice on Terry Hill Road near East Lakeshore Drive in Lake Carmel.

“I arrived at the scene and was greeted by a dog which came running towards me. The dog actually appeared to be asking for my help. It barked and ran back towards the water as if to say ‘give me a hand. My buddy is in trouble.’ I looked out at the lake and saw a large brown dog with his head and eyes barely above the frozen surface,” he said.

Peters said he walked about 15-feet offshore when “suddenly, the ice starting to break around me. I stopped but when I saw that poor dog gasping for air, I took another couple of steps and reached out to grab its paw. The dog must have realized that I was its last hope so he lunged towards me. I held onto his front paw and he kicked with his rear legs. In a few seconds, the dog reached solid ground.”

Peters then brought the shivering dog to his police cruiser where he covered the canine with a wool blanket and turned on the car’s heating system. “I felt so bad because he was freezing. The dog control officer came down a few minutes later and the rest is history,” he said.

Kent Canine Officer Kathy Hamilton took the dog to the Putnam Humane Society in the hopes that its owner would come forward and claim the animal.

Hamilton thanked Peters. “This was a brave act and we say thanks for a job well done,” she said.

Hamilton said hopefully an owner will be found. “If not, we will put “Lucky” up for adoption and I am sure a good home will be found for him,” she said.

Hamilton urged all residents never to allow a dog to run loose. “It’s dangerous and besides it’s against the law. Dogs must also be properly licensed and they should all wear a collar with an identification tag,” she said.

Peters is celebrating his first anniversary on the force this week. “I’ve never had anything like this happen to me before either here in Putnam County or in New York City where I served as a police officer for three years before relocating to Kent. I guess you can say I’m a sucker for dogs. I’m just happy I was on duty when the big guy fell in,” he said.


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Wednesday, January 5, 2005