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OWNER DIGS INTO JOB OF RESCUING PUPPIES

His home is flooded, his plumbing system destroyed and his yard is full of deep holes, but Aaron Gonzalez doesn't mind. His puppies are safe.

Seven 2-week-old puppies fell down a 4-inch sewer trap line in Gonzalez's yard Sunday morning.Gonzalez and his wife, Sharon, could reach only two, so he dug several feet to where the pipe runs horizontally toward the house, and cracked open the line, severing his sewer and water service. But he still couldn't reach the other dogs.

Gonzalez said he called city agencies for help, but none would come. So he borrowed a neighbor's shop vacuum and sucked three more pups safely from the pipe.

The couple went to bed about 2 a.m., planning to get a backhoe to tear up the yard the next morning. But they couldn't sleep because the trapped puppies "cried and cried," and their whimpering mother refused to leave the hole, Gonzalez said.

Finally, a neighbor, Jose Perez, called his city councilman, who demanded action. About 15 city workers showed up with a backhoe and dug a trench to the pipe below.

One dog had died, but after several hours, a worker snagged the other puppy.

"It's a white dog, but he looked black," said Perez, who plans to keep the puppy. "I'm going to call him Stinky."