I sure hope the passengers on four flights from Memphis, Tenn., to various parts of the country last week didn’t get air sick. It would have been a hell of a mess.
You see these weren’t ordinary passengers. These passengers happened to be cats and dogs. And they were on their way to their new homes.
As The Commercial Appeal reported, a California-based animal rescue group provided the transportation for more than 400 unwanted dogs and cats languishing in Memphis-area shelters.
This was the second such mission for the group since the beginning of the year.
“We’re again here because they needed to go, the shelters are full and they are in absolute dire need of being saved,” said Yehuda Netanel, co-founder of Wings of Rescue.
Bound for better places
Representatives from some of the Tennessee shelters said they were thrilled that the animals were bound for better places.
Alexis Pugh, director of the Memphis Animal Shelter (MAS), said the fact that 25 dogs and 18 cats flown out last Tuesday will get another shot at lives in loving homes is “fantastic.”
Before the animals from MAS took off, Pugh got a chance to speak with her counterpart at their destination — a no-kill shelter in upstate New York.
“Their adoption gallery for dogs is empty. They have zero dogs. So we’re about to fill up their adoption gallery for available pets,” Pugh said.
In other words, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
According to The Commercial Appeal, the director of the smaller DeSoto County Shelter put more than 100 unwanted companion animal flights on the recent Wings of Rescue flights.
“This is what we would do all month,” director Monica Mock told the media. “It’s very nice to move that many animals in one day, especially during the slow time of the year.”
She added that people want puppies, and demand for them is highest in the spring. Sadly, not many people are adopting the adult dogs and cats at the shelter.
“That’s why this is such a wonderful opportunity for us,” Mock explained.
Coming to the rescue
The rescue missions conducted by Wings of Rescue are part of an ongoing effort to save unwanted dogs and cats that might otherwise be euthanized. Specifically, animal rescue groups from states where there are fewer homeless dogs and cats travel to areas where overpopulation is still an issue. In most cases, the goal is to save unwanted dogs and cats in states with “kill shelters.”
At the same time, animal rescue and advocacy groups throughout the United States are also emphasizing public outreach and spay/neuter programs to combat overpopulation. And while they’ve made significant progress in some areas, it is still an uphill battle.
According to the ASPCA:
- Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.
- Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats).
- About 649,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 542,000 are dogs and only 100,000 are cats.
- Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% of dogs who came in as strays are returned to their owner.
- Of the cats entering shelters, approximately 37% are adopted, 41% are euthanized, and less than 5% of cats who came in as strays are returned to their owners.
You do the math.