Rescue crews saved an emaciated pit bull Tuesday who had been living inside a drainage pipe underneath the interstate for days.
Over the past week, several people called 911 after seeing the dog, named Norton, along I-75 in Bartow County. Police say several people have tried to catch Norton. The fire department, sheriff’s deputies and the Georgia State Patrol all tried to help, but no one was able to catch her.
On Friday, rescue group Friends to the Forlorn Pit Bull got a tip that the dog had run into a drainage pipe in the median of I-75 near the Glade Road exit in Bartow County.
"A dog in need is a dog in need. Whether it's our dog, a stray dog, that's what we do: we save pitbulls," said group member Jason Flatt.
The group couldn't see the dog, but set a trap hoping to catch her. On Sunday night, they finally saw the dog in the pipe and had been working to rescue her ever since. Early Tuesday she came out of the pipe, but quickly ran back in as soon as rescuers tried to catch her.
The group tried using a remote control car and even another dog to coax Norton out of the pipe, but had no luck. Several first responders also came by to help. The group says one of them even brought bacon and eggs. They were able to get her to eat some of the bacon off the remote control car.
Tuesday afternoon, group member Tony Rossi spotted the pit bull just inside the entrance of the drain pipe, about 5 feet below I-75.
Fellow rescuers held his legs and lowered him headfirst into the drain pipe. They blocked the entrances to the pipe, and Rossi coaxed Norton toward him with some food.
Group members bent a catchpole so it could fit into the drainpipe more easily. After three days of rescue efforts, the group was finally able to rescue Norton.
"It feels really good," said Flatt. "I'm proud of my guys."
Channel 2’s Jessica Jaglois was at the scene when rescuers finally pulled the dog from the drain pipe. Flatt told Jaglois that they usually don’t use catchpoles in pit bull rescues.
“It’s not something we normally use,” said Flatt. “But in this situation, we have to.”
The pit bull is now at New Hope Animal Hospital, where she will be given plenty of food and water. The group says she will soon be ready for adoption.