Pilots N Paws Memorial Rescue Flights for the “Chesterfield 22”
Set for September 17, 2011
On September 17 Pilots N Paws, with much needed support from Petmate, will relocate at least 200 animals from South Carolina to their new forever homes in Washington D.C., Florida, New Jersey and Georgia. This Memorial Rescue Flight is dedicated to the “Chesterfield 22”—twenty-two dogs that were needlessly shot to death in Chesterfield, South Carolina in March.
Since 2009, Petmate has been proud to partner with Pilots N Paws, a program that gives dogs a second chance one flight at a time. This unique program brings together planes, pilots and shelters to rescue and transport dogs (and other animals) from overcrowded shelters, relocating them to organizations committed to finding them homes.
“Safe transportation is a life and death matter for all pets,” says Petmate CEO Joe Messner. “And even more so for these rescued animals, whose lives truly depend on this transportation. We feel a responsibility to help animals in need and want to make this most important journey safe and comfortable.”
Of the thousands of rescue flights Pilots N Paws has made since its inception, the 3rd Annual Awareness Event is an acute reminder of why Pilots N Paws exists. In March of this year, Deborah Farhi, a volunteer with the Chesterfield County Animal Shelter in South Carolina, noticed many of the dogs in the shelter were missing. Upon questioning, shelter volunteers accused four local animal control officers of shooting at least 22 of the dogs in their care to death instead of euthanizing them through the approved, humane methods.
Shortly thereafter, Farhi began uncovering these dogs from a shallow landfill across the street from the shelter. Sheriff Sam Parker, who oversees animal control, put all four officers on leave, and within weeks the state attorney general asked the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to begin investigating the allegations. Today, the case against Chesterfield County is still under investigation.
To honor the (at least) 22 animals that lost their lives in March, this year’s awareness event will bring together 45 pilots and their planes in an effort to save at least 200 dogs from seven different counties throughout South Carolina on September 17. Additionally, hundreds of other pilots across the country will fly rescue animals the same weekend as part of the event. Petmate will support this amazing event by donating all of the kennels, collars, leashes and seatbelts that the pilots need to ensure safe transport of the animals.
The rescue flights will start on Saturday, September 17 at 6:30 a.m. at the Florence Regional Airport in South Carolina. In the event of inclement weather, the flights will be postponed until Sunday, September 18.
Petmate also donated supplies to last year’s 2nd annual awareness event, which was held on September 18, 2010, in New Orleans. Hundreds of volunteers—both pilots and rescues—came together to change the lives of 171 animals. With 22 planes on the ground at the New Orleans Lakefront airport, many adoptable dogs were successfully sent on their way to find a new family to love.
Please visit Pilots N Paws Memorial Rescue Flights for more information about the “The Chesterfield 22”.
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About Pilots N Paws
Since the program began in February 2008, pilots have donated their time, planes and fuel to fly thousands of dogs from shelters where they faced almost certain death. Some areas of the country are more likely to have overcrowded shelters and limited adoption opportunities. At www.pilotsnpaws.org, pilots can learn about animals in need and work directly with shelters and rescue groups to coordinate transportation. Nearly 7,500 shelters and rescues, along with 2,201 volunteer pilots are registered on the site.