County searches for owner of dogs rescued at sea

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Lifeguards rescued two pit bulls from an abandoned boat.

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SAN DIEGO -- Two pit bulls rescued from an adrift sailboat more than a mile off the La Jolla coast were in a San Diego shelter Thursday, waiting to see if their owner would come forward.

Lifeguards boarded a 24-foot catamaran and found the pair of pit bulls after spotting the vessel Wednesday morning. County officials said the high tide broke the sailboat's anchors loose and sent it adrift sometime the night before.

The male and female dogs were heard barking in the cabin, and lifeguards said they had been left alone in unsanitary conditions and without water. The boat was towed to Mission Bay, and an animal control officer took the dogs, which both appeared healthy.

“These dogs were lucky that lifeguards noticed the sailboat was adrift or their adventure may have had a tragic ending,'' county Animal Services Director Dawn Danielson said.

Lifeguards said someone saw the boat's owner paddle board to shore uninjured.

The pit bulls were taken to the county's Gaines Street shelter. They will be held for two weeks to allow their owner time to claim them. If not, county officials said they would be assessed for adoption.

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