BEND, Ore. -

Irrigation canals are open for the season on the High Desert, and they open up a number of risks for people and pets.

"There's so many unpredictable factors with the canals. There's swift-running water, there's debris and, quite frankly, it's not legal to swim in the canals," Bend police patrol Capt. Ben Gregory said Monday.

A tragic incident Sunday afternoon showed why. Two dogs fell into the canal off SW Brookswood Boulevard, killing one and injuring the other.

"The canal is swift -- there's a lot of drops, there's a lot of rocks, there's undertows in the canal," Gregory said.

Most canals in Bend have warning signs telling people it's private property and to keep out.

Gregory said the canals are not owned by the city, but by private irrigation districts and companies.

The signs are to help protect people and pets, as well as the crews that have to save those in distress.

"Any time that we have rescue workers working around these unpredictable environments, they have to at some point in time enter that water as well. And it puts their lives in danger," Gregory said.

Gregory added that if your pet falls in, you should call for help -- don't jump in to try to save them.