Jacob Hensley says his employees were scrambling to move dogs to safety when six feet of flood water broke through the front of the doggy daycare.
WASHINGTON — For the first time since floodwaters burst through the front of a Northeast D.C. doggy daycare killing ten dogs, owner Jacob Hensley is defending his team’s response.
“I can’t imagine how the family members of the lost loved ones are feeling,” said Hensley, the owner and founder of District Dogs. “But, we love every single one of our dogs. We know them by name. We see them every day. We lost members of our family, too,” he said.
Firefighters say it took just ten minutes on Monday for flash flood waters to swell to roughly six feet outside District Dogs on Rhode Island NE.
Hensley says inside employees were scrambling to move nearly 50 dogs when the water broke through the front glass and flooded the daycare and boarding business.
“We moved dogs to the safest location, the back of the facility, high ground,” said Hensley. “Once the water came in our staff are fighting for their lives. They were climbing on shelving. They were climbing on countertops. Some of them can’t swim and they were holding on for their own life,” he said.
Firefighters were able to rescue all of the employees and 20 trapped dogs, but ten dogs did not survive.
Some who lost their pets tell WUSA9 they believe District Dogs should have had a better evacuation plan considering the same area flooded the same time last year.
Hensley says he met with D.C. officials after last year’s flood.
“I was assured that it was safe and operable business. And, that these were once in 150 year floods,” he said.
D.C. is building a drainage tunnel that city officials say will alleviate flooding on this stretch of Rhode Island. But the tunnel is behind schedule.
“It’s still not finished, and it was supposed to be safe. That’s what I was told by city officials,” said Hensley who said he feels like D.C. officials let him down with that assessment.
“And not just let me down but they let all those pets, my team. Yeah. They let a lot of people down yesterday,” he said holding back emotions.
Hensley says he’s connecting employees with counseling, extra paid time off, and has assured them they all still have jobs–just at the other five District Dog locations.
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