Woman refuses flood rescue unless her 25 dogs go too

India's Kerala state has been hit by torrential monsoon rains since the end of May, triggering landslides and flash floods that have swept away entire villages

A woman refused to leave her flooded house in India's Kerala state without her 25 dogs, a rescuer said Saturday, as the death toll continued to rise.

The dogs were found cowering on beds in the flooded house with water rising when an animal welfare group arrived for a last-gasp rescue, said Sally Varma of Humane Society International.

The woman, who uses only one name Sunitha, was found by rescuers in Thrissur, one of the districts worst hit by floods in Kerala that have left at least 324 dead.

But she refused to leave her house unless her dogs, all strays or abandoned pets, were taken too, Varma told AFP.

"She sent back volunteers and rescue officials because they said they could not evacuate her dogs.

"She was just not willing to leave her dogs behind. She then managed to get in touch with us," Varma added.

"When the rescue team reached her house, it was completely flooded and the dogs were huddled on beds."

Sunitha, her husband and the dogs are now staying at a special shelter as the relief camps set up for the disaster refused animals.

Varma said she has started a fundraiser for Sunitha and her pets so a kennel could be built at her home after the floods recede.