Ashland officer saves German shepherd that fell through Sudbury River ice

With a dog leash tied around his waist, an Ashland police officer slithered across a frozen river to rescue a German shepherd trapped in the ice, police said.

Police received calls at about 3:30 p.m. Monday that a dog was running through traffic in town. When officers arrived, they found the dog had run onto the frozen Sudbury River and fallen through the ice, police said.

Officers intended to wait for Ashland firefighters with a tool called a snare pole to help extricate the animal. But as they waited, 5-year-old Anna began to lose energy, police said.

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K-9 officer Chris Alberini said he couldn’t watch the dog struggle any more, so he took action.

“I love dogs,” said Alberini. “I couldn’t stand there and watch this dog drown.”

He grabbed a 15-foot dog leash out of his car, wrapped it around his waist, and hooked it to his duty belt. Another officer stood by the shore, holding one end of the leash while Alberini crawled onto the ice, police said.

Alberini formed a lasso with a second leash and threw it toward Anna. The dog grabbed it with her teeth and Alberini pulled, but Anna plunged back into the icy water. After several attempts, the dog remained in the water, police said.

When the fire department arrived, firefighters tossed Alberini the snare pole. He hooked it around Anna’s neck and yanked her from the water, police said.

Anna was taken back to the police station, where she was later reunited with her family. They were at work, and didn’t know she had run off, said Alberini.

This is the first animal rescue Alberini has completed, he said.

He said he was glad to do it because his K-9 had saved his life once.

Last July, Alberini and his police dog, Dax, were involved in a raid in Ashland searching for an armed suspect. Alberini fatally shot the suspect in a justified use of force, the Middlesex district attorney’s office said in December.