Animal Services officers rescued a dog that was stuck between two walls Monday night in Riverside after fireworks likely frightened it. A bottle of vegetable oil played a role in the rescue efforts.


Officers Stephens and Hoesman rescued a dog on June 29, 2020

It took animal control officers Shirley Rivera and Kellsey Hoesman about 30 minutes to save the black Labrador from its predicament. The 13-year-old female dog jammed itself between two walls at a property on Meadowbrook Lane in Riverside’s Grand neighborhood.

The crawl space runs along several properties and the dog was located about two houses away from his owner’s home. The dog was whining and Animal Services was contacted at about 7:30 p.m.

Fireworks had been exploding in that area and the pet’s owner and others said they believed that’s why the dog ended up between the two walls. The incident illustrates exactly why pet owners must be extra vigilant in keeping their animals safe before and during – and often after – the Fourth-of-July holiday.

“We know pets get very frantic during loud explosions during this holiday period,” Animal Services Director Julie Bank said. “We certainly are troubled by the rise in illegal firework use in recent days. But we are also trying to encourage pet owners to take extra precautions to protect their animals.”

Tips can be found on Animal Services’ website. Riverside County Animal Services’ shelters will be closed July 4-6.


Officer Hoesman helped save a dog stuck between two walls-6-29-20

When officer Rivera responded to the Meadowbrook Lane property, she said she was surprised to be greeted by a niece, Alyssa Rivera, who is a neighbor of the dog owner. The officer asked her niece, “Happen to have any Crisco?” Alyssa Rivera said, “Yes! We just got some!” (She actually provided some vegetable oil.)

Officer Rivera and officer Hoesman used the oil to grease up the dog for an easier extrication. Cooking oils are often used by officers to make the trapped animal slick and slippery. “The tactic is in the unofficial officer handbook,” joked Rivera. “It actually helps a lot. She was pretty wedged in and it was a very tight spot.”

The dog owner, Heather Veik, witnessed the rescue efforts and was happy to receive her pet back. Director Bank said that this dog was fortunate to be returned immediately to his owner. “But other pet owners need to ensure their pet has proper ID and a microchip. “Keeping your pet indoors during this holiday period is crucial, too,” she said.

“She squeezed herself in there really well,” Officer Hoesman said. “When we got her out, she was a very happy-happy dog. She’s such a nice boy.”

Image Sources

  • Rescued: RivCo Animal Services Department
  • Officer Hoesman: RivCo Animal Services Department
  • frightened pet: Shutterstock