The powerful storm that swept through San Diego County on Thursday wreaked havoc at an animal sanctuary in Alpine.
The storm washed out part of the property at Lions, Tigers and Bears. The storm flooded the barn, which includes the gift shop and surgery room, the downstairs offices and habitat pools, the non-profit organization said.
“It was closed out with the rain and we’re completely flooded,” said Heather Heffernan, a volunteer at the sanctuary. “There was rivers of water going all through. It was intense.”
The cleanup efforts could cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, Lions, Tigers and Bears operations supervisors Lisa Saneda said.
Part of the cleanup effort includes regarding the property, removing excess mud, draining and flushing out the habitat pools.
"Do things like empty all the water from everything," she said. "Flush all of the systems that of through. Run the filters again. It's a real mess trying to do that."
In addition, the sanctuary needs to lay down underground piping throughout the property to help drain and remove excess water.
This was an unexpected expense for a non-profit that relies solely on donations.
“Right now we don’t have the funding to do that,” Saneda said. “That’s become a big issue right now.”
The sanctuary has since reopened despite the large cleanup work ahead. During the storm, the animals were safely locked down inside their habitat and were unharmed.
“It's great to be back,” Heffernan said. “Luckily most of the animals aren't affected by the rain so it's really just us.”
To help with the cleanup effort, click here to donate.