Homeless dogs in Riverside County will board two airplanes in Palm Springs Saturday morning to fly to their new families, thanks to some animal lovers and generous charity groups.
According to a release from the group Animal Samaritans, the dogs have been living at the Riverside County Animal Shelter in Thousand Palms. They will be flown to their new homes in Idaho and Washington State from the private airport in Palm Springs, located off Gene Autry Trail, at 8:30 a.m.
Animal Samaritans coordinated the mass animal rescue with RCAS and the Wings of Rescue charity, based in Van Nuys, California.
The rescue dogs are made up of chihuahuas, terriers, dachsund mixes and shepherd mixes, organizers said in a statement.
"When possible, we like to select the animals that have been sheltered the longest," Animal Samaritans' Rescue Coordinator Jennifer Uberit said. "We also have to consider each animal's size in response to what our rescue partners can house."
Uberti also mentioned that the timing for this rescue is opportune, as it frees up shelter space that the animal shelter needs as the community approaches the Fourth of July weekend. She said animal shelters across the country routinely deal with an influx of lost and disoriented dogs because of holiday fireworks.
And just as some people fear traveling in an airplane, coordinators need to be aware of how timid the animals are and if it's reasonable to rescue them by air.
Doctors at Animal Samaritans veterinary clinic, located next door to RCAS at the Animal Campus in Thousand Palms, examined all 54 dogs, tested them for heartworm and ensured they were properly vaccinated.
The dogs will be taken to their new homes on two non-commercial airplanes. Animal lover Stacie Dasinger played a key role in raising funds for jet fuel, along with her fellow donors Joyce Wyssen, Janeen Bahr, Steve Miller and Andrea Avoian.
Each month Animal Samaritans works with the staff at RCAS to rescue between 130 and 200 dogs and cats. The group is hoping Saturday's rescue of 54 animals will be its most successful month to date.
In just three and a half years, Wings of Rescue has flown 6,500 dogs and cats to safe havens in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Canada, according to the release.