The deaths of several dogs at a day care centre during a flash flood was an “entirely preventable tragedy”, a grief-stricken pet owner has said.
Ten animals were killed when flood water rushed into District Dogs in the northeast of Washington DC on Monday – the second time in a year.
Water rose two metres (six feet) up the front of the building before a wall collapsed and water rushed inside, NBC Washington said.
Heavy rain flooded the street and rose along huge glass windows until they gave way.
Firefighters had to break through drywall to let water out of the building and rescue seven employees and 20 dogs, but despite the efforts of emergency responders and staff, 10 dogs lost their lives.
Dog owner Jonathan Garrow, who lost his dog, called what happened “an entirely preventable tragedy”.
He said he called the Humane Rescue Alliance but was not allowed to see his dog’s remains.
Fighting back tears, he said he was told his pet was “really injured” and that he believed his dog and some of the other dogs, if not all of them, “were in cages when this happened and that she died alone and drowning in a cage”.
One owner, who did not give her name, said the business owner “came up to me and told me that they had already removed all the ones that survived, and that the ones that were in the rooms were dead”.
Another unnamed owner said they were “supposed to be celebrating his birthday”, while a third owner lamented the animals’ innocence, adding: “They didn’t do anything to deserve this.”
District Dogs owner Jacob Hensley, crying, said staff did all they could, calling them heroes.
The company said in a statement that it was “heartbroken” over the “terrible tragedy”, adding that staff began moving animals to higher parts of the building as soon as they noticed the rising water.
“Within a few minutes the water had risen to approximately six feet outside our location. Staff were following emergency procedures as the glass gave way and the building flooded.
“Our staff rushed to continue to rescue dogs to the best of their ability despite the water rising above their heads.”
Nearly 50 dogs were being cared for at the facility in Rhode Island Avenue Northeast, where there was a flood last August too, leading the owner to demand officials do something to protect the flood-prone area.