By Dave Quinn
September 17, 2018
Marcus DiPaola

Rescue workers continue to help those in the Carolinas stranded after the devastating damages of Hurricane Florence, including six dogs who were found abandoned in a locked cage in Leland, North Carolina, as flood waters rose.

Video of the incident was posted on Twitter by journalist Marcus DiPaola on Sunday. It’s since been shared more than 50,000 times.

In the clip, the trapped dogs can be seen standing on their hind legs behind the cage, barking and whimpering for help. when the rescue workers unlock the cage, all six swim for safety, the water nearly covering their bodies.

“Rescued six dogs in Leland, NC, after the owner LEFT THEM locked in an outdoor cage that filled with flood water that was rapidly rising,” DiPaola wrote. “We got them out, but by the time we left, the water was so high that they would have drowned.”


DiPaola’s dog rescue wasn’t the only Florence-related animal rescue that captured the hearts of the Internet.

A photo of evacuee Robert Simmons Jr. and his kitten — who was aptly named “Survivor” — sitting together in a rowboat went viral on Saturday, after being shared by North Carolina’s News & Observer reporter Andrew Carter.

Explaining the story behind the photo, Carter wrote, “Meet Robert Simmons. Was stuck in his house since last night, when floodwaters began to rise in New Bern. A boat came and rescued him just now. He was sad to leave his father but left with his kitten hugging his neck.”

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Simmons later told The News & Observer that the kitten’s mother was “a wild cat” but that the kitten had taken a liking to him because, “I feed him,”

Meanwhile, Simmons’ father stayed behind on his own volition. “There was probably about a half-mile of waist-deep water between their place and the street that led out of the neighborhood,” Carter wrote.

Florence — which began at sea as a Category 4 hurricane, made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane on Friday and has since been downgraded to a tropical storm — has been slow-moving, and is still lingering over the Carolinas. The storm is causing destruction, with its still-rising floodwaters leaving more than 500,000 without power, CNN reported.

Florence’s first two casualties were reported on Friday in Wilmington, North Carolina, when a tree fell through the roof of a home with a family of three inside at about 9:30 a.m., killing a mother and her 8-month-old infant. According to officials with the Wilmington Police Department, who confirmed the death in a statement to PEOPLE, the father was taken to the hospital with injuries.

On Monday, the body of 1-year old Kaiden Lee-Welch was recovered, according to a posting on the Facebook page of the Union County Sheriff Department. Search and rescue teams had been searching for the toddler on Monday after he was swept away in rushing waters from Richardson Creek.

“Union County Sheriff’s detectives believe the child and his mother were traveling east on N.C. 218 going toward Wadesboro,” officials wrote. “The mother drove around the barricades on N.C. 218 and continued traveling east until her vehicle encountered rushing water flowing across the road. Her vehicle left the roadway and came to rest amongst a group of trees. She managed to free herself and Kaiden, who was in a car seat, but lost her grip on him in the rushing water.”