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Rappelling ranger rescues lost dog from Letchworth gorge

They could hear Skippy barking but couldn't see the lost dog.

Witnesses reported hearing a dog barking Monday afternoon halfway down the steep, heavily wooded wall of the Letchworth State Park gorge, according to state park police. Two days earlier, Skippy, a 6-year-old hound-border collie mix, had been reported missing in the park.

The dog was trapped in Hogsback Overlook, where the 400-foot gorge is steep and wooded.

Unreachable from the river bottom, the only way to get to the dog was to lower a rescuer to perform a "pick off," police said.

First, the park police coordinated with the Livingston County Sheriff's Office to use a drone to try to pinpoint the location of the dog as well as its size to determine what kind of rescue harness to use. But because of the dense trees, the drone couldn't spot the canine, police said.

Two days after he went missing in Letchworth State Park, Skippy was rescued from the gorge by a Park Police officer. (Provided by New York State Park Police)

Sgt. Ryan Clancey, one of nine state park police officers in the Genesee County area certified in rope rescues, was lowered and snatched Skippy.

The dog was returned to his owner "with only minor cuts and scratches."

“This rescue is an important reminder of the selflessness, dedication and teamwork of the men and women charged with keeping New Yorkers and those who visit our great state park system safe,” state park police Chief David Page said.

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