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MAN SAVING DOG FROM ICE FLOE ENDS UP NEEDING RESCUE

A man who took a kayak onto Chautauqua Lake Friday to save a dog got caught in an ice floe and had to be rescued himself.

Bernhard Auer, co-owner of Boatworks Marina, was pulled off the ice by the Celoron Fire Department shortly before 11 a.m.

Auer said, "I heard a dog barking and it sounded like it was coming from the lake. I looked out the office window and he was half stuck in the ice, yelping for someone to get him out.

"We had a little kayak here. I didn't fall through (the ice) until I got all the way out there, but then I dragged (the dog) into the boat, but I couldn't drag myself back up onto the ice without tipping the boat over."

Auer's partner called the Fire Department for help. Celoron Fire Chief Scott Bailey said two of his men went out to bring Auer and the dog back.

"We had safety ropes on them in case they fell through, and they had long poles so that if they fell the poles would stretch across the hole and they wouldn't go all the way in," Bailey said.

Both Auer and the dog were cold, but were not hurt.

The situation prompted Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph Gerace to issue a strong warning: "Everyone should stay off the ice on Chautauqua Lake. It is not safe for people to go out there on foot, snowmobiles, or any other type of vehicle. Doing so can risk the lives of others who may have to be called in for an ice rescue."

As temperatures climbed into the 40's Friday and are expected to go even higher today, Gerace said the ice conditions can change quickly.

"There have been cases in the past where ice fishermen go out onto the lake, and when they try to come back in they find the ice has broken up. Things can change very rapidly, and we just don't want people to take any chances," he added.

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