DC woman grapples with dog’s drowning death: ‘This could have all been prevented’

Jocelyn Lobos-Segura lost her one-year-old dog, Mona, in Monday’s flash flooding at DC’s District Dogs day care and boarding facility. (Courtesy Jocelyn Lobos-Segura)
Jocelyn Lobos-Segura described her 1-year-old Labrador-Border Collie, Mona, as rowdy, rambunctious and “such a sweet dog.”  (Courtesy Jocelyn Lobos-Segura)
One-year-old Labrador-Border Collie, Mona, was one of 10 dogs that drowned in Monday’s flash flooding at the District Dogs day care and boarding facility in Northeast D.C. (Courtesy Jocelyn Lobos-Segura)

For D.C. resident Jocelyn Lobos-Segura, Monday’s severe weather in the Rhode Island Avenue area of Northeast took an unimaginably tragic toll. Her one-year-old Labrador-Border Collie, Mona, was one of 10 dogs who died when a pet day care facility flooded.

“I didn’t know anything was going on until I went to go pick up Mona,” Lobos-Segura said. “It was around 5:30 p.m., which is the typical time that I went to go pick her up after work, and I had noticed that the road was closed while I was driving up. So, I had to go a really long route to try to get to the parking lot.”

Seeing ambulance and police presence outside of District Dogs, Lobos-Segura initially thought someone in the apartments above the facility might have had a health emergency — but she soon realized the truth would be much more heart-wrenching.

“I had seen that the building inside was just completely destroyed,” Lobos-Segura said. “But I was really just hoping that my dog was OK.”

After noticing dogs being removed from the pet day care, Lobos-Segura said she waited around to see if Mona would show. That’s when she said the owner of District Dogs approached her and broke the devastating news.

“[He said] they were done taking out the dogs that survived, and the only ones left were the ones that didn’t make it,” she told WTOP, fighting back tears.

The facility’s owner, Jacob Hensley, has issued public statements on social media to express “profound sadness” at Monday’s tragic event, as well as gratitude for staff members whose “heroic actions” helped save dozens of dogs. Hensley noted that many staff members “had to cling to shelves and counters themselves.”

Lobos-Segura said she is full of confusion and “a lot of anger” about the situation, wondering why no solutions or emergency plans had been put in place, despite the city knowing about the regional flooding issue which has plagued District Dogs in the past.

While she commends the employees for doing their best to save as many dogs as possible, she doesn’t believe they should have been forced to risk their own lives in the first place.

“I just don’t understand why this was OK, and why my dog had to suffer the consequences just because the city and District Dogs didn’t take accountability” by creating an emergency plan after previous flooding and full awareness of the issue, she said. “This could have all been prevented.”

Hensley has announced that the District Dogs location is now permanently closed.

Lobos-Segura said she wants Hensley to realize how much pain he has caused the mourning pet parents for “his negligence.”

“There’s so many holes in our hearts left now because our babies couldn’t come back home,” she said.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report. 

Dana Sukontarak

Dana Sukontarak is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. She loves haiku poetry, short sci-fi stories and word games. She grew up in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and currently lives in Silver Spring.

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