LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A southwest valley dog owner received the shock of a lifetime when on a walk, her German Shepherd plummeted several feet under the sidewalk.
Lana Norman said she was walking Riley around 7:15 p.m. earlier this month on Rochelle Avenue off of Buffalo Drive near Flamingo Road when suddenly, all 87-pounds of dog fell through an open storm drain.
“And then next thing I know he was down the hole, and I was going, ‘Oh my God,’ ‘Oh my God,’” she said. “I’m screaming at him. I’m crying. I’m totally freaking out. How am I going to get my dog out of this hole?”
Using a flashlight, Norman determined part of the storm drain, which aligned with the side of the road, was missing, leaving a hole just large enough for Riley to fall through. Part of the hole was covered with hay.
Riley landed about eight feet below the surface in an underground drainage ditch that was full of trash.
A week later, Norman called the I-Team after what she hoped was just a temporary fix was put in place. The hole was covered with a piece of wood.
“What if it were a kid? What if it was someone’s child?” she said. “What if it was an elderly person walking along here?”
The location of the hole on Rochelle Avenue is a lot over from the Brilliant Child Christian Academy, which serves young children in pre-school and grade school.
After Riley fell through the open grate, Norman called 311 but did not get through. She then hung up and called 911.
“I called 911, and the lady told me, ‘This is for human emergencies only,’” Norman said. The dispatcher then transferred her back over to 311. As she sat on hold, she was able to contact her sister who called in reinforcements.
A neighbor came over, jumped into the opening, and removed Riley.
“I guess he saw how freaked out I was,” Norman said, worried there are other situations across the Las Vegas valley going unreported.
“I was shaking for hours,” she said. “That dog’s my life.”
Norman filed a request with the Department of Public Works with the free FixIt App. This alerted the county to the problem.
The county said the grate has since been replaced.