STREETERVILLE — Way to go, Chicago Police, says PETA.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced Thursday that it was presenting Chicago with its Compassionate Police Department Award for Officer Juan Farris' efforts in saving a struggling dog from Lake Michigan.
Farris, a new recruit fresh out of the Police Academy, and his partner, Daniel Guzman, a field training officer, were responding to a four-car crash on the 600 block of North Lake Shore Drive at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.
That's when they were befriended by a pit bull running back and forth on the pedestrian sidewalk and bike path between Lake Michigan and the Drive.
The dog tried to drink from the lake and fell in and couldn't get back up the foot-high drop from the pavement. Farris sprawled on the ground and pulled the dog to shore in a life-saving maneuver captured by a TV traffic helicopter hovering overhead.
"This dog could easily have drowned in Lake Michigan, but the Chicago Police Department was luckily on the scene and ready to rush in to help him," said PETA Vice President Colleen O'Brien. "Officer Juan Farris has started off his career on a compassionate and heroic note, and PETA is confident that this will be the first of many animal rescues for him."
The award, however, goes to the Police Department, which will receive a framed certificate and a box of vegan cookies.
Farris and Guzman originally thought the dog had been in one of the cars involved in the accident, but it turned out he was a stray and was picked up by Animal Care & Control. Farris said at a news conference later Tuesday at the Near North District, 1160 N. Larrabee St., that he might be interested in adopting him is he's unclaimed by an owner.