Law Enforcement Torch Run in collaboration with the Hampden County Sheriff's Department and the Wilbraham Police and Fire Departments coordinated a Polar Plunge to benefit the Special Olympics Massachusetts.
While the event was presumably created with the best intentions, the Polar Plunge is now under scrutiny after an unnamed man allegedly pushed his dog into the freezing cold water of Spec Pond in Wilbraham, Massachusetts on Feb. 14.
“Special Olympics Massachusetts and Law Enforcement Torch Run in no way condone this action and we are very shocked and disappointed that this happened at what has consistently been a great community event," a statement issued by Special Olympics Massachusetts read.
MassLive reported Wilbraham Police Department issued a statement saying the department looked into the matter and does not believe the dog was mistreated. The dog appears unharmed, and will be evaluated by a veterinarian.
The Polar Plunge, a fundraiser for the Special Olympics, allowed over 100 people to donate money so they could jump through a hole in the ice and jump into Spec Pond. The temperature was in the low teens that day.
"Personally, [I] and everyone in the office thought it was unconscionable and cruel," Chris Richie, Marketing and Communications Manager for the Massachusetts Special Olympics, said.
Rob Halpin, spokesman for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, also expressed disgust, but said there would not be a criminal investigation. "It's obviously not how people are supposed to treat a dog, but it doesn't constitute a violation of the state's animal cruelty statute," Halpin said.
The owner insists he did not push his dog in.