Rule number 1: Do not cage or tie up pets if you have to evacuate in an emergency.
As Hurricane Florence unleashes her relentless powers upon the Carolinas, there has been no shortage of loss and tragedy. But if it's any comfort, it's heartening to know that amongst it all we are getting countless stories of heroic gestures and good deeds all around. This is one of them.
Freelance reporter Marcus DiPaola shared the video below on Twitter. In it, we see panicked
gods (that was a typo, funny how the mind works), uhm, dogs, stranded in their kennel as the water is rising up to their waists. Thankfully, DiPoala and another man came to their rescue and released them, just in the nick of time.
Rescued six dogs in Leland, NC, after the owner LEFT THEM locked in an outdoor cage that filled with flood water that was rapidly rising.— Marcus DiPaola (@marcusdipaola) September 16, 2018
We got them out, but by the time we left, the water was so high that they would have drowned. BRING YOUR PETS WITH YOU! #HurricaneFlorence pic.twitter.com/tRibGxCjXy
While I know the first reaction is to judge the dogs' owners for leaving them behind – there is a more important lesson here than playing the blame game. I know that many people would never leave without their animals – but some people simply can not evacuate with their pets for any number of reasons. If this happens, it's imperative not to tie them up or otherwise restrain them, like in a cage or kennel. While it may at first seem like the natural thing to do, it's not. Animals have a good instinct to survive, and when left to their own devices they will seek safety as best they can. If they are tied to a pole or trapped in a cage their options become extremely limited.
Meanwhile, the latest tweet from DiPoala reads: "Just rescued a feral kitten moments ago in Burgaw, NC. Video to come once I get a place with better service. I came to North Carolina to cover a story, not become the story, for obvious ethical reasons. But I'm not letting a kitten die."
Six dogs and one kitten saved, thousands more to go. A reporter's work is never done...
Update: There has been a rumor going around that the owner died while checking on the dogs. And rebuttal reports that the man who died checking on his dogs was actually a man in another county. Our condolences to the man's family either way. And the lesson remains: take your pets if you can; if you can not evacuate with them, free them so that they can seek safety.