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GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Across the country, millions of animals are at risk of being euthanized. One non-profit aims to help reduce those numbers.
Pilots to the Rescue is a non-profit based out of New Jersey that works with shelters across the East Coast to rescue these animals and transport them back north. The organization works with volunteer pilots to fly these animals instead of driving them across the coast.
Jason Oliver, a pilot with the organization, says flying these animals eases the journey for both the volunteers and the animals.
“It’s awesome to be able to fly them up, the logistics of driving are pretty difficult especially when they are coming from down south. It takes multiple drivers and a lot of time to make it up to the East Coast,” Oliver said. “So the ability to fly, bring them up in a day, get them there sooner. It’s a lot for these puppies to travel, so it’s nice when they’re able to do it in one day”
This particular rescue consisted of 30 puppies and two adult dogs from Texas, with the Greeneville Municipal Airport being their midway transfer point. The organization says this is one of its biggest transports. Oliver believes this could be due to overpopulation in the surrounding areas.
“I think it’s unfortunate. There are a lot of puppy mills and illegal breeders in the area thinking that they can breed puppies and make a profit and unfortunately, that’s not necessarily the case down south where the demand isn’t necessarily as high” Oliver said.
Amanda Leifeste, a transport driver from Texas, hopes the community can learn from this large transport.
“I’m hoping to see that more people take responsibility with their animals and spay and neuter and make that lifelong commitment when they do have an animal rather than sending it to a shelter or putting it out on the street,” Leifeste said.