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Hundreds of Dogs and Cats Get New Chance at Life in Airlift at Van Nuys Airport

More than 350 dogs (and some cats) are being saved by Wings of Rescue on Friday morning.

An airlift of dogmatic proportions is going on at Van Nuys Airport on Friday morning when 350-plus dogs and cats will be taken to new homes after facing the danger of being euthanisized.

The dogs and cats are heading out to other parts of California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Arizona and Idaho, thanks to volunteer pilots in a holiday airlift organized by Wings of Rescue, a voluntary pet rescue organization. The group helps place the animals in loving homes.

The take-off is planned for Van Nuys Airport on Friday morning, and other lift-offs are from San Francisco, Bakersfield and Palm Springs.

The dogs are "of all shapes and sizes that have gotten a holiday reprieve from a certain death sentence," according to the charity. They will be transported via private aircraft to safety and came from numerous area animal shelters.

The private planes will be bearing the Wings of Rescue logo rescue and the tag line, “Flying Home.” All of the pilots are volunteering their time and their planesfor this enormous effort.

Wings of Rescue, founded by Los Angeles resident and private pilot Yehuda Netanel, of Woodland Hills, and is made up of an all-volunteer organization of pilots who have combined a passion for flying with a desire to save shelter animals from euthanasia. Netanel himself, an owner of six dogs, says that one day he came to the realize “every day, amazing dogs awake to their last day on Earth" and he wanted to do something about it.

This group has become involved by lending support and volunteers. Other sponsors include Bob Smith BMW and Wells Faro Bank.

See some of the dogs and cats in the gallery above and stay tuned to Patch for photos and video.

Jeff December 07, 2012 at 04:08 PM
That all sounds wonderful and heartfelt. I rescued our dogs from the South Central and East Valley Shelter. I was lucky to get them not just because I found them, but because there were dog rescuers interested in the dogs I wanted at the shelter and these shelters gave preferrential treatment to these rescuers. I was interviewed on the spot by one of these righteous individuals, I am not 100% sympathetic. They were not interested in the about to be euthanized dogs but were interested in the cute, cuddly, presentable and trained dogs.There were plenty of chihuahuas , rottweilers, mastifs and other mixed breeds that seemed would not get any reprieve. Saving a cute dog is not the same as rescuing one that stands zero chance at finding a home. Cute dogs always find homes. Regular people don't often get lucky to see these cute dogs because rescuers adopt them for their various organizations so the regular folks have to go through the rescue rather than directly to the shelter. The rescues do a good service but they cater to a different crowd and their definition of rescue is different than mine. It took me six months of going back and forth to the shelters to get our dogs because at each juncture a rescuer had been there, was coming to the shelter because they were called or some other obstacle such as you had to adopt the mother and entire litter. It's a loaded issue because the rescuer is going to seperate those dogs anyway and sell them for a higher price than the shelter.
MorganSM December 07, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Jeff, that is not how all rescues operate. I volunteer on a regular basis for a wonderful rescue who takes in ALL types of dogs and cats. They have a vast array of senior animals, deaf animals, blind animals, dogs and cats with health problems, chihuahuas, pit bulls, shy animals, and everything in between. Wings of Rescue, keep up the amazing, generous work!
Rescue Volunteer December 08, 2012 at 02:14 AM
So, Jeff, you want to take away the wonderful story here about a kind and sensitive human being who saw and need and filled it -- a beautiful holiday story that we all need, so that you can complain that you met one person at a shelter whom you did not care for? Perhaps you could delete your post so that others can enjoy what Mr. Netanel and Wings of Rescue has done in helping these shelter pets get to rescue groups rather than being destroyed at the shelters. Even better, Jeff, why don't you go to the South Central and East Valley shelter and volunteer YOUR time? That would productive and educational. Kudos to Wings of Rescue for doing an amazing, generous job for these animals! There is a special place in heaven for people like you!
Wilma O. December 08, 2012 at 05:55 AM
Very well said Morgan and Rescue Volunteer!!!!! I myself is a foster mom for an Animal Rescue and Wings of Rescue has trasported so many animals for us they are awesome for thier big hearts and helping for what they do. We get all animals doesnt matter how old, sick, shy, big and small they are we do it all. We do it every day no vacations.When they come to our house they are part of they family as long as they are here. Thats were there second chance starts In my Rescue.
rae breezey December 08, 2012 at 09:04 AM
Cute animals always get homes? Go to dogsindanger.com, and click on memoriums. There are thousands of cute dogs being killed everyday. And would you be more pleased if every no kill rescue spent all their time and energy on hard or even impossible to place dogs? They would all be completely full with little to no turn around. Before long there would be thousands of dogs doomed to live out there lives in a concrete run, in a shelter, (and shelters can be incredibly stressful for dogs). While other dogs, with possibly no major behavioral issues would be doomed to early deaths. Of course ALL dogs deserve loving homes, but unfortunately there are just too many of them. And rescues have to be smart about making sure they can save as many lives as possible. It's not like if the pounds ever ran out of "cute" dogs, rescues would simply close there doors, and consider their jobs done. In fact, they may appreciate the high turnover rate of these cute, pre-trained dogs. But as far as what they take home? Well, almost all the volunteers I've ever met have AT LEAST one problem animal in their home. Because ultimately, its the general public who cares about things like cuteness. Not the volunteers.
Merry Stewart December 08, 2012 at 03:17 PM
This seems like a really nice story; I’m sure the pilots and others involved believe that they are doing a great thing. I've been a volunteer with local shelters since 1995; I know the truth about these transports and others that are done in vans and cars, where many dogs are crammed into vehicles that are driven in "legs" and some die en route. Though the people are well-meaning, where do these dogs really end up? Overcrowded shelters? Labs? Fighting dog bait? There is no follow-up proof that they are going to "loving homes." There is a crisis of overpopulation everywhere in the U.S. - "other parts of California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Arizona and Idaho" are full of unwanted animals. Taking animals from LA exacerbates the crisis in destination cities. They have to make room, so do they kill the animals they already have in THEIR pounds? The real truth is that LA is shipping these animals to god-knows-where with no accountability. LA does not count them in the statistics, making their kill numbers look lower and their "live release rate" look higher. It's all about perception, never about reality. If our well-paid GMs in LA - Brenda Barnette included - were doing a proper job of outreach, education, mobile adoptions, spaying and neutering, enforcement of our laws regarding selling and breeding, our problems would not require shipping animals to unknown fates. It looks warm and fuzzy, but isn't the whole story. It's just sad.
Merry Stewart December 08, 2012 at 03:46 PM
And - the photos of all those stacked crates full of dogs and cats...... horrible. I'd be really interested in knowing the fate of those animals. The bulldog - how did he fare on the flight? Did he make it? What about the tiny pups? What about the ones with upper respiratory illness? (A large percentage of them contract such airborne illness in LA pounds.) And cats? The highest kill rates in ALL shelters are for cats and pits. And they're shipping them? These animals pose specific health challenges for flight - or any transport, for that matter. Are their special needs considered? Perhaps this reporter should do some diligence and write a follow-up story on these animals. And ask more questions.
Marion December 08, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Having flown many dogs from desperate situations into our rescue..i can assure you that they are all very well taken care off prior to a flight as well as forever after..Sure, it can be a bumpy ride..but better to fly than be dead..In the summer it might not be good to fly..due to extreme heat..and when its to cold..no dogs are permitted to fly..
Marion December 08, 2012 at 04:50 PM
My concern is not the flight...but where the dogs are going to..
Merry Stewart December 08, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Yes, Marion. That was my main original point. Where are these animals now?
Merry Stewart December 08, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Check out the photo, above, of "Hallie" - a poodle dumped at a Northern California shelter. I just received this plea for her. Maybe we should spend money rehabbing and rescuing dogs like this before dumping LA dogs up there.
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