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Stranded dogs, cats rescued in flood-ravaged Iowa town

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, June 19th, 2008 at 8:10 am in Animal welfare, Disasters, Floods, Pet rescue, Pets in Danger.

Reviving memories of its huge animal rescue effort following Hurricane Katrina, Best Friends Animal Society today announced that a full animal rescue team is hard at work helping to free companion animals from floodwaters in the tiny town of Oakville, in southeastern Iowa.

I just received this news release from the society:

Approximately 60 dogs and cats, pets left behind by fleeing residents, have been seen on rooftops and balconies in flooded Oakville, Iowa. And 500 pigs, released by a beleaguered farmer are scattered over 10 miles, with some stranded on top of a local levee.

Responding to an official request from the State of Iowa Emergency Operations Center, the Best Friends rescue team will be hard at work for at least the next three days looking for abandoned dogs and cats.

“It’s a familiar scene,” said the society’s rapid response manager Rich Crook, who along with dozens of Best Friends employees and volunteers spent months helping to save 6,000 dogs and cats in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Unfortunately, pets and farm animals are immediate victims of a natural disaster, and this situation was no different. Oakville residents, caught by the sudden rising waters, were forced to flee their homes, leaving frightened pets behind.

Pigs and other farm animals are scattered in and around Oakville. Local farmer, Ron Lanz, was forced to leave his 500 pigs behind, fearing that floodwaters would sweep across his 450-acre farm. He escaped by catching a ride in the back of a friend’s pickup.

Surviving pigs managed to scramble to high ground and have been spotted along a 10-mile stretch. “Unfortunately, because the pigs are damaging the levee, local officials have given permission for locals to shoot the pigs to protect the levee,” Crook said.

“So far more than 20 pigs have been killed, but fortunately, most of the people we’ve talked with, including the Iowa State Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, are willing to seek an alternative, in spite of the fact that the pigs pose a danger to the levee.”

Crook’s team is working closely with the local sheriff, local authorities and the state agriculture department to not only rescue companion animals, but devise an efficient way for families to reclaim their pets once floodwaters recede.

Best Friends of Kanab, Utah, an animal rescue organization, operates the country’s largest sanctuary for abused and abandoned animals. On any given day, the sanctuary is home to approx. 2,000 dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, birds and other animals. /Gary

You can find out more about Best Friends at

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3 Responses to “Stranded dogs, cats rescued in flood-ravaged Iowa town”

  1. Maggie Says:

    The pigs would be better off being shot on the levee than rounded up and sent back to the hog farm for future slaughtering. Hog farms in Iowa are a major environmental pollutant and are exceptionally cruel to the animals.

  2. Caleb Says:

    Very true unfortunately. Feel bad that they were able to escape their demise, swim such a distance to save themselves only to be shot by some ignorant humans. Yes pigs are very intelligent, just because the majority of Americans eat them doesn’t mean they deserve the life they have or are even dumb. Studies have been done to show the intelligence of pigs to be that and/or superior to dogs. Would you shoot your pet dog trying to save himself?

    I understand the reasoning, at least hopefully the shot was instantaneous and they did not suffer cruelty, which they would if they had made it to slaughter.

  3. JAGS Says:

    Animals are smarter than us.
    To bad they don’t have possible digits.
    Think they would run things much better than we do. They wouldn’t treat us the way we treat them.
    We’ve taken so much from this planet and we’ve put back nothing.
    It’s no wonder our environment is collapsing.
    It may take thousands/millions of years, but mother nature will recover. We humans won’t be here though.
    We are killing our soil,water,air,and ourselves with fertilizers, heavy metals and toxins.
    We are making bad bacteria stronger than the good bacteria.
    Without good bacteria, nature is out of balance, without balance there is destruction, just watch the news..

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