Pit bulls rescued at sea will be returned to owner


Lifeguards rescued two pit bulls from an abandoned boat.

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SAN DIEGO -- Two dogs that were rescued from a boat floating off the La Jolla coast Wednesday will be returned to their owner, animal control officials said Saturday.

When the dogs were found floating alone, San Diego County Animal Control took them to the San Diego Humane Society. The boat was towed and impounded at the San Diego lifeguard headquarters on Mission Bay.

A good Samaritan paid the fees Friday so that the owner, Guillermo Cabanellas, will get his dogs back.

Lt. Kalani Hudson of San Diego County Animal Control said the dogs arrived in good condition with no physical injuries.

“Kind of the same circumstances where if somebody was in a car accident, and transported to the hospital we would take the dogs in for them until the owner can make arrangements to get the dogs,” he said.

But Guillermo said he can’t get his boat out of impound due to rising fees, and he’s blaming San Diego Lifeguards.

“Pretty much they towed me from a place where I was drifting to another place where I was also drifting dead on the water so it’s very irresponsible. It’s actually criminal,” Cabanellas said.

He said he began having engine trouble Monday, and that lifeguards towed him but left him adrift again. On Wednesday, he left his boat and the dogs to row ashore and set up a tow service. When he returned, the boat and dogs were gone.

Now, he's filing an injunction in court against San Diego lifeguards for failing to provide him with sufficient help.

“Had he not had anchor lights and good enough anchors to stay out on the ocean, we would have demanded and brought him into Mission Bay under emergency tow,” said Lt. John Sandmeyer with San Diego lifeguards.

Sandmeyer said Cabanellas had the option to stay or be towed. He chose to stay where lifeguards left him.

“We knew that he was coming into shore, to try to get parts for his engine possibly or contact a tow service but on the third day we noticed his boat was slipping and we just don’t have a choice, especially when we found two dogs were still on board inside the cabin,” Sandmeyer said.

Cabanellas said he can’t afford the impound fees and without his boat he and the dogs will be forced to sleep on the streets.

“I’m left homeless…along with my dogs,” he said.

How long the dogs were alone is still a question. San Diego Animal Control said they will hold on to the two dogs free of charge at the San Diego Humane Society until Feb. 3 so that Cabanellas can have more time to get his boat back.


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