Dogs rescued after falling through thin Lake Erie ice

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A pet store owner out walking his three dogs fell through the weak ice surface on Lake Erie Wednesday morning while trying to rescue one of them.

Tom Higgins was walking his dogs off of Fuhrmann Boulevard around 9 a.m. when one who was not on a leash wandered out onto the ice and fell partially through into the frigid waters of Lake Erie.

“Connie is a great swimmer and she saw open water for the first time in a long time. She took off before I could stop her,” Higgins said.

While trying to reach his dog, Higgins ended up falling through the ice as well.

“It’s not rational enough thinking at that point. You’re looking at your dog, who’s looking at you, and you can’t get to them. It’s a horrible thing,” Higgins said.

Luckily, a stranger was walking the path. He handed Higgins some driftwood laying along the boulders, which Higgins was able to use to pull himself and his dog to safety.

While Higgins flailed in the water with Connie, his two other dogs jumped in after him.

“But they fell in right at the edge, so I was able to yank them out,” Higgins explained.

Higgins, who owns Elmwood Pet Supplies on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, went home to dry off before heading to work.

“Don’t let your dog be off leash near melting ice at this time of year. I just posted on Elmwood Pet’s Facebook page because I feel I have to warn people because it is dangerous,” Higgins said.

All the dogs were saved and were not hurt. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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