More than 4 million U.S. pets are euthanized every year. A staggering number really. Over full shelters have animals that they have no room for, and eventually must euthanize, but is there a solution to stop the killing of these innocent animals? These two groups seem to think so.
California-based Wings of Rescue or South Carolina-based Pilots N Paws are recruiting pilots to volunteer their planes, fuel and time in a trend that’s growing as more dogs end up in shelters and more people seek out canine love. The volunteer pilots are flying animals from shelters where they would surely be euthanized, to locations where the animals are in a high demand to be rescued.
States such as California, Georgia and South Carolina typically have too many dogs in shelters, while places such as Washington, Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Florida need more pets to satisfy demand. To solve this problem, pilots are flying to the rescue.
Take Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, for example. Retirees want smaller dogs, which are easier to take care of but a tough find in the area that has such a high demand. So, the Kootenai Humane Society orders a planeload of dogs under 16 pounds every month, or more than 1,000 animals in the last 16 months, Executive Director Debbie Jeffrey said.
“It’s just been a real success. As fast as they come in, they are adopted.”
The more pilots are seeing the success of these programs, the more they are signing up to help, which in turn means that the lives of dogs and cats being saved is growing. Pilots N Paws 5,000-plus pilots have flown more than 15,000 dogs to new homes each of the past two years, relocating more than 75,000 animals over the last seven years, she said. And the numbers keep rising. Wings Of Rescue has a goal this year of saving at least 6000 dogs and cats.