Mar 1, 2023 - News

Minnesota dog's rescue sheds light on danger of abandoned wells

a cocker spaniel sitting on a chair

Gannicus, shortly after the rescue. Photo courtesy of Heather Neid/MDH

A "Lassie" moment came to life in Southern Minnesota recently, as rescuers saved a very good dog from an abandoned well.

What happened: Redwood County resident Heather Neid discovered her springer spaniel Gannicus barking at the bottom of a hole that was nearly 20 inches wide and 30 feet deep.

Details: At first, the sheriff wasn't sure they'd be able to get the pup out. But a rescue team dropped a rope into the hole and, sure enough, Gannicus was in the mood for a high-stakes game of tug-of-war.

  • They were able to pull him 30 feet to safety.

Why it matters: Unsealed, unused wells can pose a big risk to animals and people, per the Minnesota Department of Health, which shared Gannicus' story in a news release Tuesday.

  • In this case, Neid was grateful it was the dog, not one of her two small children, who tumbled into the hole.

The bottom line: State law requires that unused wells are sealed by a licensed well contractor, MDH says. Sellers must also disclose the location and status of all wells on a property.

  • The Neid family said they didn't know about the well before the incident. They have since covered it and are looking into a permanent fix.

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