"We couldn't leave them."

By Meghan Overdeep
September 17, 2018
Hurricane Florence Flooding
Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

On Saturday, in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, April Casey was on a mission to rescue cats for a friend just south of Kinston, North Carolina. Casey told The News & Observer that she was trying to take a shortcut when a flooded road lead her to a dead end.

She heard the cries the moment she stepped out of her car. Dogs trapped in and around a nearby house were barking and whimpering as the floodwaters rose around them.

"We could hear them," said Casey, who lives in Seven Springs, told The News & Observer. "There was at least eight in the pen. And they were standing on the doghouse, but we couldn't leave them, at all."

With the help of her family, a jet ski, and a donated jon boat, a horrified Casey lead a joint rescue effort as the waters from the historic flood continued to rise. They spent 90 minutes rescuing dogs, many of whom were soaked and shaking, from the flooded house and the kennels nearby. The puppies of one female dog didn't make it.

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"There was some locked in the house, and the one that was hurt was locked up underneath the steps. Some of them were in kennels, some of them weren't," Casey recalled. "There was just a lot of them back there."

She told the paper that it was her understanding that several of the dog's owners had left them there because they believed it would be safe from flooding. Up until Saturday, the house where they were found was considered to be high ground.

Unfortunately, that proved not to be the case.

Casey told The News & Observer that 10 of the 18 dogs she saved have been reunited with their owners. The rest will be taken to a local fire department and hopefully claimed soon.

"I love dogs. I love animals, period," Casey said. "… They can't save themselves."