Louisiana woman flees Gustav in car carrying 30 chihuahuas

Memphis, TN (WMC-TV)

- At less than 10 lbs. each, they're some of the smallest Gulf Coast evacuees to arrive in the Mid-South.

Tina Rockenbaugh, a chihuahua breeder from Louisiana, evacuated in a car carrying all 30 of her chihuahuas.

"We had a few carriers and a little cage, and I was shocked that we managed to get all of these dogs in carriers and put them in the back seat of a Toyota," she said.

Rockenbaugh and the dogs are staying with a relative in Lakeland, Tennessee. She's waiting anxiously to find out how her mobile home fared in the hurricane.

Relative Renae McCormick has taken in Rockenbaugh and all her tiny evacuees.

"We agreed to take on the chihuahuas in the family, and now we have so many chihuhuas we don't know what to do with them," McCormick said.

Even McCormick's pet cockatoo was displaced in the process. "We had to change three rooms around in our house," she said.

McCormick agreed to help Rockenbaugh because she knows what it's like: she was a Hurricane Katrina evacuee.

"My neighborhood was 7 feet 4 inches underwater," she said.

Rockenbaugh is ending her career breeding chihuahuas. She says after Hurricane Katrina, it became too difficult to find homes for her dogs.

"It's hard to evacuate with animals, and people just didn't want to have to risk having to travel with an animal," she said.

Rockenbaugh hopes to find permanent homes locally for her chihuahuas, since no one knows what has become of their Louisiana home.

Click here to contact Rockenbaugh if you're interested in adopting one of the 11 puppies and 13 adult chihuahuas.

Click here to e-mail Lori Brown.