MILLS COUNTY, IA (WOWT) – Rescuers in Iowa braved freezing floodwaters to save 32 dogs, many dangerously close to death, that were trapped in a flooded house and had been in what one rescue group called a “hoarding situation.”
The flooding hit much of the Midwest this week, particularly in Nebraska and Iowa, and morning temperatures in the area plunged into the low 30s.
Volunteers weren’t deterred by the bone-chilling floodwater, however, risking their own health to save dozens of dogs.
The dogs were wet, cold and scared. Volunteers from several rescue groups showed up to get them to safety in Mills County, Iowa.
"She ran free, she jumped off the island and she went in the water all the way," one rescuer said of one of the dogs.
Genea Stoops with Hooves and Paws Rescue, called the situation “incredibly sad.”
Mills County officials called Hooves and Paws to remove a horse from a flooded farmstead, only to discover the stranded dogs fighting to survive.
"They only have a little area where they can get up out of the water and they were fighting with each other," Stoops said.
The property owner evacuated, and then surrendered the dogs to animal rescuers who had to make numerous trips in and out to get them all.
The rescuers had to cross about 300 yards of almost chest-deep, ice cold floodwater.
"And the water is hard to walk through because your feet get stuck in the mud," Stoops said.
The volunteers had a heated van ready for the cold dogs. Many were in dire shape.
"They're almost frozen to death. Literally. And these have open wounds that are bleeding," one rescuer said.
Experts said many of the dogs only had hours of life left before they were taken to the warmth.
"You get closer to the house and in the water, you can see fuel on top of the water and the dogs are drinking it," Amy Heinz with AHeinz57 Pet Rescue said.
The dogs were given a second chance by the volunteers who refused to let cold water stand in the way of animal rescue.
Hooves and Paws had received 200 calls for help for animals affected by the flood as of Tuesday. Their rescue is full, so others had to be called in.
AHeinz 57 Pet rescue posted an update on Facebook on Tuesday night, saying that while some had “significant health issues” and another few were believed to be pregnant, “considering what they went through they are all in pretty decent shape.”