Turtle Gardens boating dogs to safety from flood waters

  • May. 20, 2011 3:00 p.m.

As of Friday, Turtle Gardens Animal Rescue Shelter was just inches from being submerged under flood water, as shelter operators scrambled to boat their animals to safety.

Yvette Labbatte said they received their evacuation order on May 19 to get out of the flooding area, but arrangements had to be made for the 43 dogs she is currently housing.

“I said ‘not without my dogs.'”

Her dogs range in age from 13 weeks to 22 years.

They were quickly able to secure a mobile home to move into. It belonged to an area man who had passed away, she said.

The Regional District of Bulkley Nechako sent them some rolls of four-foot fencing that they’ll use, and the Northwest Animal Shelter is also sending along a truck and trailer with a bunch of chain link fencing.

They’ll use all the fencing to make caged in areas to house the dogs at their new location, which is behind the firehall in Topley.

“There is two great big porches, it’s a 70 foot mobile home, so there’s a lot of room for the dogs and I.”

As soon as they get set up in their temporary location, she said there will be a trip right away to send dogs to foster homes and the adopted homes, mostly in Vancouver.

That trip will send out about 20 animals.

She said as of Friday everything was coming together, “except the water is four inches from the house.”

“The yards are completely underwater which means to get out of here I have to walk through knee-high water. Then I have to walk down to the road and then there’s a wash out and I’ll have to get in a boat and go across the washout and get into a van and go to our new location.”

By nightfall on Friday they expected to have had all the animals moved out.

“And the dogs that don’t know how to walk on a leash they will be put into a crate, they will be wheelbarrowd down and then they’ll go in a boat in the crate and from there into the van.”

Labbatte said she is incredibly impressed with the support she has received from friends and supporters.

This is the first time her property, or Topley, has flooded, since she’s been there, she said.

The community can help out by visiting their website, www.turtlegardens.org, and click on either the Flood Relief donation button on the right-hand side, or donate through the Canada Helps link.

“Not only do we need donations for now with this crisis, it’s the clean up afterwards that’s going to be a real downer.”