Two Labrador retrievers rescued after 3 days stuck in North County pipe

CARLSBAD (KUSI) — Thanks to an attentive farmworker, two Labrador retrievers were recuperating at a county animal shelter Tuesday after spending days stuck and starving in an underground pipe at a North County citrus orchard.

The dogs’ life-threatening plight started coming to light last week, when a man tending orange and avocado trees at the Fallbrook-area grove heard bouts of mysterious whining and whimpering with no apparent source, according to the county Department of Animal Services.

Initially, the worker dismissed the unexplained sounds. When they continued for days, however, he began to investigate, DAS officials said.

On Saturday, the noises led him to an underground pipe. He dug down to it, cut part of it away and discovered one of the retrievers inside.

The animal services agency was then notified, and DAS Officer Cortney Pache responded and did more shoveling before managing to pull out the black-and-white female canine.

Pache then discovered the second trapped dog, a male larger than the first. Rescuing that canine took more intensive work, including further cutting of the pipe.

The animals seemed uninjured, but both were emaciated and dehydrated, the male so weak he was unable to stand. They were taken to a veterinary urgent care center, where they ate voraciously.

The retrievers are gaining weight and are very friendly, county officials said.

"We estimate the dogs were in the drain for at least three days,” DAS Director Laurie Joniaux said. "It’s amazing they’re actually doing so well.”

The dogs apparently had fallen into a hole leading to the subterranean pipe, which in turn runs to a large storm drain.

The male is roughly 5 years old, and the female about 2. They are continuing their recovery at a county animal-care facility in Carlsbad.

Since neither had tags or any other means of determining where or to whom they belong, the dogs will be held at the shelter through the close of business on Wednesday to give whoever might own them a chance to come forward and claim them. Otherwise, they will become available for adoption Thursday.

Categories: Local San Diego News