Billy had been missing since April 3rd when he had gone to the supermarket with his master. The little dogwandered off, only to soon find himself stuck in a narrow tunnel beneath the Bourgogne canal. His owner immediately alerted firefighters about the disappearance, who over the weekend tried in vain to save the pup.
During the rescue effort, the city government even lowered the canal’s water levels to try and better reach the dog. Even that wasn’t enough, though—which led Bernard Schmeltz, the town’s police chief, to send a team of divers into the extremely narrow tunnel. Volunteer spelunkers also joined the effort.
The police chief did, however, provoke a controversy when he announced that rescue efforts would cease. The state representative decided to put a stop to the searches after a member of the rescue team ‘became stuck and needed a colleague’s assistance to extract himself,’ he commented on Monday morning. According to him, continuing to try to save Billy could risk putting human lives in danger.
This news created a scandal on social media: such personalities as French journalist Julien Courbet and YouTube comedian Rémi Gaillard, a fervent animal rights activist, denounced the decision.
After Billy’s rescue, Gaillard mocked the police chief in tweeting:
I have to thank you for putting a stop to the case, Bernard Schmeltz. Real men took the reins to save Billy.
The mobilization effort drove volunteers to pick up the cause—and in the end, the dog was saved!
Now safe and sound with his owner, Billy is going to be able to rest up and recover from this scary experience.