NEWPORT BEACH ( — The death of dog that got sucked into an Orange County storm drain has raised safety concerns.

The flood gate is in the Santa Ana river that borders Huntington Beach and Newport Beach.

Madi McNaughton said she did not see any signs warning of the danger. Otherwise, she would not have tossed a ball toward the cement flood gate with no grate for her dog to chase after.

“Why is there no grate on it? Why is there no signs in the area? Why is there no notice to the public, saying that it’s a danger,” she questioned.

Orange County Public Works officials acknowledged that a steel grate that blocked the entrance to the flood control gate was missing and promised to install a new grate within the next few weeks.

“We understand this is a great place for people to bring their dogs. They enjoy it. There’s sand in the middle of river town. But it’s a flood control channel. We really urge people to stay out, stay alive,” said Shannon Widor of Orange County Public Works.

McNaughton almost got killed while trying to save her 150-pound mastiff mix, Rupert, last Thursday.

Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel released a statement saying: “…this area is not open to public access. At the county we are taking action including, installing more signage to remind people to ‘stay out stay alive’… As well as replace the vandalized grate.”

Meanwhile, McNaughton put up her own sign to warn others of the danger.

She planned to hold a memorial for Rupert on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and raise awareness of the hazard in the area.


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