Turkish police officer saves puppy trapped in middle of frozen lake

'A miracle happened and she came back to life'

Jon Sharman,Borzou Daragahi
Monday 31 December 2018 14:57 GMT
Turkish Police Officer Rescues Dog From Frozen Lake

A Turkish police officer has won praise after risking his life to save a puppy trapped in the middle of a frozen lake.

Burak Okten donned a wetsuit and swam out to the dog in Van, Turkey, to rescue it as it clung to the edge of the icy surface some 150m from the lake shore.

He was forced to smash through the frozen water by hand in order to reach the animal while a crowd of onlookers formed.

Video shows the police diver bringing the puppy back to shore where it receives CPR treatment before being wrapped in towels and taken to a veterinary clinic.

Despite suffering from hypothermia the animal recovered and Mr Okten has since adopted it and named it Buz, which is Turkish for “ice”, according to reports.

He said: “We had very little hope when she got out of the water. I didn’t expect her to survive.

“A miracle happened, really. She came back to life.”

The rescue took place on Boxing Day.

The footage was widely shared online with social media users describing Mr Okten as “one of the finest”.

Turks have increasingly taken to animal rights in recent years, and there is widespread grassroots support for humane treatment of street dogs and cats.

Veterinarians in major cities take in strays to vaccinate them, and residents leave out food for dogs and cats roaming streets and alleyways. Local governments build shelters for stray cats, though animal rights activists also criticise municipalities for putting too many stray dogs to death.

Parliament is considering a proposed law that imposes prison sentences of up to five years for those who torture animals, a bill that gained momentum after video emerged in June of a Turkish man killing a puppy, prompting nationwide outrage.

Crucially the bill would define animals as not property, a landmark change to Turkish law if enacted.

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