NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) — It’s only been three days since Madi McNaughton’s rescue dog Rupert was sucked into a Newport Beach flood gate and died, and she’s still wishing she could have done something differently to save her dog.
McNaughton’s now covered in cuts and scrapes from diving in after the 150-pound Mastiff mix, risking her own life in the process.
“I’m livid that my daughter almost died, and God help me if she died,” said Dawna McNaughton, Madi’s mother. “It’s bad enough that dog’s gone.”
McNaughton said that Thursday morning she went down to the beach where the Santa Ana River lets out into the ocean.
She says a sudden, large wave pulled the 3-year-old dog all the way through the gate to the other side that’s grated.
She and her dog rescue community are terrified a tragedy will strike another family.
“Just minutes before I got here with my dogs to throw their ball, there was a dad and his two kids playing in this exact water that got him swept into that water,” McNaughton said. “That could’ve been those kids. He was way bigger than those kids were.”
The group says the area is not considered a legal off-leash spot, but many people assume it is.
“We’ve been fighting for a dog beach here for almost a year,” McNaughton said.
They want the county to cover the opening with grating and provide warning signs.
Orange County personnel who oversee the area have not responded to requests for comment.
McNaughton plans a candlelight vigil Thursday for Rupert.