Underground Whimpers Lead to Dogs’ Rescue from Pipe

Two Labrador retrievers are recovering at County Animal Services after they were rescued from an underground pipe where they had been trapped for days.

A man tending an orange and avocado grove in Fallbrook heard whining last week, but didn’t think much of it. As the days passed, he kept hearing whining and whimpering so on Saturday he investigated.

He followed the sound and it led him to a pipe running underground. He started to dig and when he reached the pipe, he cut away a part of it and inside he found a retriever. County Animal Services was called in.

But it took even more shoveling before Animal Control Officer Cortney Pache was able to pull out a black and white female dog. To Pache’s surprise, yet another dog was trapped inside. This one was not as easy to recover. After cutting away more of the pipe and digging, a second larger male Labrador retriever was pulled out.

Neither dog appeared to be injured but both were dehydrated and very thin. The male was so weak, he could not stand. The two were taken to a veterinary urgent care where they both ate voraciously.


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

The dogs apparently fell into a hole at the top of a hill that leads to an underground pipe. It runs to a large storm drain, but the Labradors got stuck inside and couldn’t escape.


The male is about 5 years old and the female is about 2 years old. They’re now recovering at the County’s animal care facility in Carlsbad. Neither had ID and the dogs will be held through the close of business on Wednesday, August 30 to see if an owner comes forward. If not, the two dogs will become available for adoption on Thursday, August 31.

Caretakers say the both dogs are gaining weight and are very friendly.

For more information about County Animal Services, call (619) 767-2675 or visit


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