Louisiana flood dogs arrive in San Diego

EL CAJON, Calif. -- Dozens of dogs stranded by recent flooding in Louisiana were flown Friday to San Diego, where they were picked up by animal welfare groups that will care for them.

Prolonged rainfall last month dropped up to 20 inches of precipitation in some Louisiana parishes, resulting in more than a dozen deaths and damage to tens of thousands of homes in what authorities have called the worst natural disaster in the United States since Superstorm Sandy four years ago on the East Coast.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that some animal shelters were damaged by the high waters while others became overcrowded with lost pets.

Dogs have been shipped off to Atlanta, Kansas City and northeast Ohio, among other places.

“Some families were able to escape with their dogs -- others were lucky to get out with their lives,'' said CeCe Bloum, founder of San Diego-based Thrive Animal Rescue.

“Many have no homes to return to,'' Bloum said. “Unfortunately, some of them arrived at evacuation centers only to discover that their pets were not welcome.''

Thrive, the Rancho Coastal Humane Society, Labradors and Friends Rescue, SPOT Rescue, and Animal Samaritans took in the dogs in an operation they call “Flooded with Love.'' An aircraft from “Wings of Rescue'' flew the dogs from Lafayette, Louisiana, to Gillespie Field in El Cajon.

“They would still be in their homes if it hadn't been for the floods,'' said Jim Silveira, RCHS president. “We want to match them with their new families as soon as possible so they can begin their new lives in California.''

According to the Rancho Coastal Humane Society, each dog will receive a health exam, updated vaccinations, and be spayed or neutered before it is adopted. The first adoptions are expected in about a week.