Yet Another Scary Reason Not to Take Your Dog on an Escalator

dog rescued after his paw got stuck in a New Jersey PATH station escalator

As I wrote in A Very Scary Reason Why You Shouldn’t Take Your Dog on an Escalator back in February 2018, a small dog riding an escalator with his owner at Los Angeles International Airport nearly lost a paw when it got caught in the grate at the top of the escalator. Luckily a passerby who witnessed what happened quickly pressed the emergency shut-off button to stop the escalator. LAX police officers were able to unscrew the grate’s teeth and free the dog’s paw.

A year before that, the exact same thing happened to another small dog riding the escalator at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. That dog was also safely freed, but bit his owners in the process.

Fast forward three years, and the exact same thing has happened yet again to another dog. On Wednesday afternoon, a Pomeranian named Scott got his back left paw stuck in an escalator at the Journal Square PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid transit system station in New Jersey.

The cries of Scott and his owner were heard by Port Authority police officers Anthony Manfredini and Matthew Maiello, who raced to the escalator and pushed the emergency shut-off button. They then summoned help.

“I spent my life training and caretaking for dogs in the Marine Corps as a K9 handler and in my personal life,” Manfredini told The Jersey Journal. “I didn’t have a second thought when it came to cries for help.”

As Manfredini held and comforted Scott (aw!), Emergency Service Unit officers Mark Legic, Andrew Vignapiano and Eric Block were able to unbolt the escalator’s claw plate and free the dog’s paw, NBC New York reports.

Scott’s paw was badly injured, with cuts and puncture wounds. Angel Lopez, a kind-hearted Port Authority police sergeant, paid the taxi fare for the dog’s owner to take Scott to an animal hospital. Scott is expected to make a complete recovery, and his owner will hopefully have learned a painful lesson.

It is never, ever a good idea to let dogs, especially small ones like Scott, ride on escalators. Unless you’re able to carry your dog, always take the stairs or elevator instead.

“Many pet owners do not understand the danger escalators and moving walkways pose to pets, who do not know that they need to lift their feet at the top to avoid being trapped by the ‘combs,’” MSPCA-Angell warned in 2012, after a Pomeranian mix named Mace lost two toes after getting his paw stuck on an escalator in a Boston subway station.

Each year, MSPCA-Angell veterinarians perform surgery on an average of two to three dogs whose paws were mangled after they were stuck in escalator combs.

“This is a very serious issue; most of us don’t think twice when stepping onto an escalator, but it’s crucial for all of us to understand that dogs have no sense of the danger awaiting them at the top,” stated Dr. Ashley Davis, one of the veterinarians who treated Mace. “If anything positive can come from Mace’s ordeal, it’s the awareness that his story will generate.”

If you can’t carry your dog and must ride an escalator, bring booties for him to wear, suggested Jeannine Berger, DVM. “Just make sure they fit snugly, without superfluous material that can catch in the moving escalator parts,” she warned.

Photo: @PANYNJ/Twitter

Laura Goldman

I am a freelance writer and lifelong dog lover. For five years, I was a staff writer for i Love Dogs. When that site shut down, I started this blog...because I STILL Love Dogs!