Caught on Camera: Animal Control Rescues Dog Stuck in Bathtub Drain

When “Mr. Ruffles” tried to jump out of the tub, his owner realized the pooch had gotten his paw stuck in the drain cover

The County of San Diego Department of Animal Services (DAS) was involved in a rare rescue operation Tuesday when a dog's paw got stuck in a bathtub drain.

The rescue was captured on cellphone video obtained Thursday by NBC 7.

DAS Deputy Director Daniel DeSousa said the department received a frantic call from San Diego resident Eric Sabaga Tuesday reporting his dog, a pug mix named Mr. Ruffles, was stuck to the drain cover in his bathtub.

Sabaga said Mr. Ruffles had been bathed the night before around 9 p.m. and when the pooch went to jump out of the tub, his paw got stuck in the drain cover.

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Sabaga told Animal Services he had tried everything to free his dog, from applying oil and soap to his paw to calling the fire department.

Every effort proved unsuccessful.

The worried owner had also called Mr. Ruffles' veterinarian for an emergency house call, but the vet was unable to rush over.

Sabaga told Animal Services he had tried to remove Mr. Ruffles' paw on his own but said the dog was in pain and, as a result, had started snapping.

DAS Officer Tiffany Mushet tried calling several other local veterinarians for help, to no avail. Mushet was then sent to the scene, along with registered veterinary technician Yadira Figueroa and Dr. Regina Radtke, who sedated Mr. Ruffles so the group could rescue him safely, DeSousa said.

Once Mr. Ruffles was sedated, Sabaga, Mushet, Figueroa and Radtke all worked together to pull the pup from the drain.

San Diego County Department of Animal Services
RVT Yadira Figueroa and Dr. Regina Radtke helped rescue Mr. Ruffles from the bathtub. After the successful effort, they happily hugged the pooch.

As cellphone video shows, Mr. Ruffles' paw wouldn’t budge and the dog had to be rotated at the same time as the drain cover.

The drain cover was unscrewed and Mr. Ruffles was finally removed from the tub. Two of the pup’s toes were deeply wedged into the drain cover, the video shows.

Ultimately — and very carefully — the team was able to remove the dog’s paw from the metal cover. His paw was inflamed, DeSousa said, but Mr. Ruffles was otherwise unharmed. The specialists then reversed the dog’s sedation.

DAS posted a photo Facebook of Mr. Ruffles with a very happy Figueroa and Radtke after the rescue.

Mr. Ruffles was turned over to Sabaga, who was advised to get his dog to the vet for further care.

Despite the tense moments in the tub, DeSousa said Mr. Ruffles is doing just fine. He spoke with Sabaga, who assured him the dog was OK — although it may be a while before Mr. Ruffles takes another bath.

DeSousa said the rescue was one of the most memorable calls the DAS has received in recent years, although when animals are involved, there are always surprises. He recalled another instance a while back where a dog got his head stuck in a hole in the wall of a home.

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