Vashon Firefighters Nab PETA Award for Rescuing Dog Stranded on Cliffside After 100-Foot Fall


For Immediate Release:
March 15, 2024

Sara Groves 202-483-7382

Vashon, Wash. – A Compassionate Fire Department Award is on its way from PETA to Vashon Island Fire & Rescue in recognition of rescuers’ bravery and determination in saving a dog who had fallen 100 feet down a cliff and become trapped on a small ledge near KVI Beach on Tuesday.

Left: Firefighter Ben Steele rappels down a cliff to rescue Kirby. Credit: Vashon Island Fire & Rescue
Right: PETA’s Compassionate Fire Department Award recognizing Vashon Island Fire & Rescue. Credit: PETA

Firefighters responded to a call from the dog’s guardian, who said that her dog, Kirby, had gotten ahead of her during a walk and fallen down the steep cliffside. First responders performed a high-angle rope rescue. Firefighter Ben Steele, using a harness and rope system, rappelled down to Kirby, who was fitted with a rescue harness and escorted safely to the beach below. Kirby was unharmed.

In a Facebook post about the rescue, Vashon Island Fire & Rescue said that its mission is “to provide compassionate care to the entire island, including our four-legged friends.”

“These courageous firefighters didn’t hesitate to spring into action and save this frightened dog from a terrifying and perilous predicament,” says PETA Senior Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “PETA hopes their brave actions inspire people everywhere to step up and help when they see an animal in need.”

The department will receive a framed certificate and vegan chocolates from PETA.

PETA reminds all dog guardians to keep their animal companions near them on walks using a leash and a comfortable, secure harness and to keep a close eye on them when they’re outdoors.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.


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