Emergency personnel were out searching to make sure someone hadn’t fallen in the Yadkin River in Wilkesboro when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve.
The incident began when Wilkesboro police officers P.L. Parsons and J.G. McHargue found a German shepherd dog in the Yadkin near where Moravian Creek enters the south side of the river around 11:30 p.m.
The officers were at the nearby town garage at the end of North Collegiate Drive to drop off a vehicle needing work when they heard the dog bark, said Robbie Bolin, Wilkesboro Fire Department captain.
The dog “was hanging on the side of the bank and couldn’t get out because it was so steep,” said Bolin.
The fire department was called to help rescue the dog but Parsons and McHargue had the dog out of the river when firefighters arrived. The dog appeared to be well cared for and a water bottle was found nearby, said Parsons
Bolin said it was a friendly dog, probably less than a year old and wearing a nice collar with a rabies vaccination tag.
He said the decision was made to search the area because of the possibility of the dog being with a person who fell in the river or needed help for some other reason. The Wilkes Rescue Squad was dispatched to assist.
Bolin said 12-14 people, including squad members, Wilkesboro firefighters and Wilkesboro police, searched the riverbanks and fields on either side of the Yadkin and the river itself from near the mouth of Moravian Creek downstream to a short distance below the Curtis Bridge Road bridge.
Searchers walked on either side of the river, but no boats were launched due to weather conditions, he added.
The search was called off a little after 12:30 a.m. Friday when nothing indicating a person needing help was found. Bolin said there was speculation that the dog ended up in the Yadkin because it was frightened by New Year’s Eve fireworks.
He said a North Wilkesboro Police Department officer, hearing radio communication from the search in Wilkesboro, arrived on the scene and offered to take the dog and help find its owner. Parsons said he is still trying to find the owner.