About 130 dogs have gone from a bad situation to safety thanks to a Pittsburgh organization that rescues canines throughout the Midwest, south and eastern part of the U.S.
The Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team uses a small fleet of airplanes, most privately-owned, to rescue dogs in various situations.
“Dog fighting rings, abusive situations, hoarding situations, natural disasters or shelters that simply don’t have room or resources to care for their animals, and we take them to safety,” said Brad Childs, the group's co-founder.
Over the weekend, the rescue team joined the Animal Rescue Corps in whisking away 130 dogs from Tennessee.
Because of the large number, the group used vans for transport instead of planes. Rescuers own one, Pittsburgh-based Eyetique offered three and another came from Shadyside Inn. Both businesses are owned by PAART co-founders.
The dogs were taken from hoarding situations, abandonment and law enforcement seizure, Childs said, and brought to either Chicago or Louisville, Ky.
“To either a foster network, or we take them to other facilities that have the ability to handle the amount of animals and get them properly vetted and ultimately adopted into a forever home,” he said.
That means ensuring the animals are healthy or providing any care that may be needed, including spaying and neutering.
PAART started in 2006 and became an official 501(c)3 non-profit in 2012. According to its website, the organization has saved more than 1,000 animals to date and has a goal of rescuing 5,000 by the end of 2016.
“When a dog looks you in the eye, and it could be a very vicious dog, but somehow they know that you’re there to save them, they know that you’re there to protect them,” Childs said.
Organizers said they expect a call for more volunteers in the coming weeks.