Derby’s fire and police departments have been recognized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a national animal-rights group, for their efforts in rescuing Lucy the dachshund, who had been trapped under a house in Derby for 13 days.
Derby fire Chief Brad Smith said he received a letter from PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk, thanking him for his “department’s compassion.”
“I think Lucy’s the one who deserves the award for going 13 days without water,” Smith said. “It was truly amazing, but not for us.”
In a news release, PETA said that “thanks to Derby’s first responders, she was reunited with her family just in time for her birthday.”
Derby fire Lt. Chuck Stansfield was one of the firefighters who dug Lucy out from underneath a concrete slab. He said he doesn’t think he deserves any special recognition for rescuing the dog.
“Pets are part of the family,” he said. “It always feels good to help people get back to their pets.
“As far as being recognized for anything, I think there’s a lot bigger things out there to be recognized for that people have done. I was just doing my job.”
On April 16, when Lucy was discovered under the concrete, he said, he and three other firefighters went to the house to assist Derby police officers.
“I reached under and saw basically her head – she was wedged between the concrete slab from underneath it,” Stansfield said. “She was wedged in there real tight. I could see her eyes blinking.
“I just started the process of digging her out. I couldn’t see her body so I had to dig underneath her. Eventually over time, she fell out from being wedged in there, and I was able to reach my hand in there, and that was basically about it.
“You could tell she was pretty out of shape but seemed to be very happy to be back in the owner’s hands.”
Derby police Chief Robert Lee said his units were not at the scene for long – police left when firefighters arrived.
“I’m just glad that that situation worked out well,” he said.
Derby’s fire and police departments will receive framed Compassionate Department awards in the mail in the next few weeks.
Since Lucy’s story was published by The Eagle, it has been republished in media outlets across the country. Fox News contacted her owner, Rebecca Felix, about filming a segment for “Fox and Friends,” a national morning talk show.
Felix said Fox News had planned to bring her to Lawrence to film the segment, but the unrest in Baltimore and the Nepal earthquake “was a priority.”
“They said they would contact us in the future,” she said.