Boaters rush to rac­coon res­cue

Record Observer - - News - By DO­RIAN MITCHELL dmitchell@thekent­coun­tynews.com

ROCK HALL — When two va­ca­tion­ing boaters res­cued a rac­coon from the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay near Rock Hall on Mon­day, July 4, they did not know they would be re­ceiv­ing an award for this sim­ple act of kind­ness.

In a news re­lease, the Peo­ple for the Eth­i­cal Treat­ment of An­i­mals an­nounced that Den­nis Jay and Peter Lamb, both of An­napo­lis, will re­ceive Com­pas­sion­ate Ac­tion Awards for their good deed.

“We give them to peo­ple and or­ga­ni­za­tions who save or im­prove the lives of an­i­mals and don’t turn away from them in times of need,” PETA com­mu­nity out­reach li­ai­son Ash­ley Rhodes said in a Tues­day, July 12 tele­phone in­ter view.

Jay said he and Lamb, along with friends and fam­ily, took sev­eral sail­boats and spent the Fourth of July week­end in Rock Hall.

“All night Sunday (July 3), we kept hear­ing this noise,” he said Tues­day. “I just thought it was a bird or some­thing on the top mast.”

The next morn­ing, as one of the boats was head­ing back to An­napo­lis, a pas­sen­ger spot­ted a rac­coon try­ing to stay afloat in the wa­ter.

“Of course we didn’t be­lieve it at first, but then we saw him,” Jay said. “He was tread­ing wa­ter and look­ing help­less.”

He said though the boaters wanted to help the rac­coon, they were wary of pick­ing it up be­cause of the pos­si­bil­ity of ra­bies.

“He also looked very small and young, and prob­a­bly was half the size of an adult,” Jay said. “We didn’t want to get any for­eign scents on him that might star­tle oth­ers of his kind.”

Af­ter de­bat­ing on how to res­cue the rac­coon, some­one came up with the idea of low­er­ing a life pre­server at­tached to a a dock line into the wa­ter. Af­ter spot­ting the makeshift raft, the rac­coon im­me­di­ately swam to it and hung on.

“He strug­gled a lit­tle get­ting on,” Jay said. “He was ob­vi­ously ex­hausted and had been in the wa­ter for a while.”

As Jay used his phone to take a video, Lamb tied the end of the line to a dinghy and care­fully towed the rac­coon to a swamp area, near the en­trance of Swan Creek.

“As soon as the an­i­mal saw land, he hopped off the life jacket and started to rest,” Jay said. “That was the last we saw of him.”

Jay, who works for the Coali­tion Against In­sur­ance Fraud in Washington, D.C., said he posted the res­cue video on Face­book and then YouTube.

“I was blown away by the com­ments and the num­bers of views we’ve re­ceived,” he said. “At my last count this morn­ing, we were over 400,000 views.”

Jay said among the var­i­ous com­ments from both lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional me­dia out­lets, there was one posted from PETA.

“We al­ways keep an eye out on­line and in the me­dia for kind peo­ple who don’t look the other way when it comes to an­i­mals,” Rhodes said.

She said af­ter dis­cov­er­ing the video and ar­ti­cles about it, PETA de­cided to award Jay and Lamb with Com­pas­sion­ate Ac­tion Awards.

“They’re re­ceiv­ing the awards for their brav­ery and de­ter­mi­na­tion,” Rhodes said. “They set a great ex­am­ple and we hope other peo­ple will fol­low that.”

She said the framed cer­tifi­cates will be mailed to Jay and Lamb, along with a box of ve­gan cook­ies.

“It’s al­ways nice to get rec­og­nized, though there were no great hero­ics here,” Jay said. “There was just an an­i­mal in need. Most peo­ple would have fig­ured out how to save it, we just hap­pened to be there.”

He said he sold the li­cens­ing rights to the video and do­nated the pro­ceeds to the Wilder­ness So­ci­ety.

To view the rac­coon res­cue video, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0Dsh96Jt_o.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

In this screen­shot of a video posted on Youtube, a rac­coon climbs onto a life vest tossed to it by boaters in Rock Hall. A line was tied to the life vest, which was used by the boaters to tow the rac­coon to land.

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