Human Society Rescues Dogs from outside Vt.
March 18, 2016
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  • Five Texans touched down in Rutland County on Wednesday. Five shelter dogs from Dallas, that is.

    With extra room in its shelter for dogs, the Rutland County Humane Society is now accepting lodgers from overcrowded shelters elsewhere in the country.

    “We in the Northeast do a pretty good job of spaying and neutering our animals, so we don’t have nearly as many homeless pets as they do in other parts of the country,” Beth Saradarian, Humane Society associate director, said Thursday.

    On Wednesday, the shelter took in five dogs slated for euthanization in Dallas, Texas. Emma, Mini, Belle, Tenshi and Nessa touched down at the Clarendon airport in the afternoon after a three-leg trip involving four nonprofits.

    In the morning, the Society for Companion Animals put the dogs in the cargo hold of a commercial plane to LaGuardia Airport in New York. From there, Transporters without Borders drove the dogs to the Westchester County Airport — also in New York — where Pilots to the Rescue flew them for the last leg of the journey to the regional airport in Clarendon.

    “So it was a big day for them,” Saradarian said.

    The five dogs still need to be spayed and neutered, and won’t be ready for adoption for another week or so. But once they are, Saradarian expects them to be adopted within a week or two — the shelter’s typical turn-around time for dogs.

    “I have one in my office right now. They’ve settled in nicely. They’re really outgoing and friendly,” she said.

    The Humane Society is expecting another five dogs from Dallas on Wednesday. Saradarian said more should come on a regular basis, although not necessarily weekly.

    “Everything worked out so well yesterday that we’d like to continue that. Because these are dogs that have a great opportunity to find homes up here,” Saradarian said.

    With some shelters seeing extra space and others perpetually overcrowded, a growing network of nonprofits is shipping animals across the country to save them from being put down.

    “It’s estimated that 4 million animals, which is more than 10,000 a day, are euthanized each year in the country, mainly due to overcrowded shelters and lax spay and neuter laws,” said Michael Schneider, the pilot who flew the dogs to Rutland on Wednesday.

    Schneider co-founded Pilots to the Rescue, a New York-based nonprofit that coordinates flights, recruits volunteer pilots (and planes), and identifies shelters to send and take animals. He’s been flying dogs around the country since 2014.

    “You almost have to treat these animals like inventory — what’s the best way to move them around the country?” Schneider said.

    The states that kill the most animals are mostly in the south — Texas, Florida, North Carolina — and the pilots’ group most often takes them to the Northeast, to shelters in New Jersey, New York, and now, Vermont.

    Probably a few hundred private pilots like him volunteer their time — and the planes they have access to — to make these trips, either through their group or other organizations, he said. But it’s nowhere near enough.

    “If we really want to make a huge difference, we’re going to have to get commercial aviation involved,” he said.