Pit Bulls Found Adrift at Sea

Two pit bulls are safely back on land with County Animal Services Wednesday after being found on board a sailboat floating out to sea.

San Diego Lifeguards say the 24-foot boat was anchored off the La Jolla Shores area Tuesday evening when at some point the high tide must have broken the anchors loose and the vessel went adrift. 

Lifeguards noticed the catamaran sailboat more than a mile off shore Wednesday morning and went on board to make sure everything was OK. They found two dogs barking inside the cabin. Lifeguards towed the boat back to Mission Bay and called County Animal Services. An Animal Control Officer took the two pit bulls off the vessel and lifeguards searched the boat. No one was on board.

Lifeguards said the dogs didn’t have any water in the cabin and the conditions were unsanitary. Animal Services rescued the dogs since the owner wasn’t present and they were taken to the County shelter on Gaines Street in San Diego. The dogs, one female and the other male, appear to be healthy but do not have tags or microchips.

“These dogs were lucky that lifeguards noticed the sailboat was adrift or their adventure may have had a tragic ending,” said County Animal Services Director Dawn Danielson.  

The pit bulls will be held for 14 days to see if an owner comes forward before being assessed for the adoption program.

Meantime, lifeguards say the boat’s owner typically uses a paddle board to travel to and from his boat to shore. The paddle board was found on the beach in La Jolla and witnesses had seen him come in so lifeguards believe he’s OK.       


Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact