Pilots are angels of mercy for homeless California dogs

Sat Jan 4, 2014 9:12am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Laila Kearney

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - When Ron Evenhaim flew his private plane on a volunteer mission of mercy from California to Oregon, he did not expect to adopt one of his passengers.

The compelling factor: her eyes.

The wide, frightened eyes of Bambi the Chihuahua made her stand out among hundreds of homeless canines Evenhaim and other volunteer pilots flew out of California last month to states with high demand for dogs and shelters with policies against putting them to death.

The flights - one of the largest known airlifts of their kind - are part of a growing national effort to transport animals long distances as a way of saving them from so-called kill shelters, where abandoned pets or strays are euthanized to make room for incoming animals.

"There is much more of a trend toward transporting to get animals adopted," said Justin Scally, national director of emergency services for the American Humane Association.

The practice of euthanasia has declined in recent years, he said, as shelter managers have tried to find alternatives to killing the animals.

Bambi is the second rescue dog taken in by Evenhaim.

Helping with the transport flights, which can take 13 hours round-trip, has allowed the pilot to combine his passion for flying and love of animals.   Continued...

A dog is loaded into a crate at Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento, California, for a flight of 50 dogs to a no-kill shelter in Idaho, December 9, 2013.REUTERS/Max Whittaker