The Los Angeles Fire Department is defending its decision to deploy about 50 firefighters and a helicopter to rescue a dog from the Los Angeles River.

Fire Capt. Steve Ruda said Monday the risk involved with saving the German shepherd from the storm-swollen river Friday was not as intense as it appeared.

The department has received high praise for the rescue, but has also taken some criticism for using so many resources.

Ruda said there was no extra cost because the firefighters were on duty and stationed nearby.

The German shepherd was saved when a firefighter dangling from a helicopter grabbed the dog and held tight as they were taken to an overpass. The dog bit the firefighter, who lost a nail and fractured his thumb.