Timothy Walsh had just stepped outside of his apartment Monday morning for a smoke when he saw several Mesa police officers and firefighters focused on a canal near Gilbert Road and Main Street.
"They were following him up this way," Walsh said.
He ran across the parking lot of his complex in the direction of the canal. Once closer, he was able to see that first-responders were after a dog struggling to float and stay alive.
"It had no energy," Walsh described.
Walsh said it seemed like first-responders, who were using snares and a noose, were only going to do so much from land. So he took matters into his own hands - with the blessing of officers on the scene, he said.
"The guy (officer) said, 'You look like you're dressed to get wet,'" Walsh said. "While I was going over the wall, the officer said: 'He (the dog) looks pretty tuckered out and should be easy to catch.' And then he held my lighter for me."
When Walsh jumped into the dirty canal water he said the dog got even more freaked out.
"That's where he started biting me," Walsh said pointing to a spot in the canal. "And then I had to tread water with the dog to the edge."
Walsh needed 29 stitches and has bandages across his face.
But Mesa police contradicted Walsh's story of what happened before he jumped into the canal.
"Prior to him doing so, our officer advised him against that," Mesa Police Det. Steve Berry said.
Berry isn't characterizing the officer's comments to Walsh as an invitation to help either.
"Just a conversation over the shoulder," Berry said.
Both Walsh and Mesa police agree on most of what happened. But when it comes to what encouraged a bystander to jump into the canal comes down to his story against the police department's.
"If that was the case, if they did not want me to go in, there was three of them right there, why wouldn't they say 'no sir' and grab me," Walsh said.
The dog was lifted from the canal and police released it.
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