Five pups flew in to the Leesburg Executive Airport Wednesday after being rescued from a shelter in Rocky Mount, NC, by the Pilots N Paws rescue foundation.
The nonprofit coordinates with pilots who volunteer to transport abandoned animals facing euthanasia to a foster home, adoptive family or rescue shelter.
During 2013 the organization's efforts helped save the lives of 15,000 dogs across the U.S., Pam Wahl, member of the Pilots N Paws advisory board and publisher of The Virginia-Maryland Dog Magazine based in Frederick, MD, said.
The canines arrived in Leesburg Wednesday afternoon and were handed off to two more pilots who carried them to northern New Jersey.
All five dogs, including two puppies and three full-grown mix-breeds, were scheduled to be euthanized because of overpopulation at a North Carolina shelter, a problem Wahl said is far too common. “If more people would spay and neuter we wouldn't have this issue,” she said.
Steve Shoop, who flew to North Carolina and back to Leesburg to save the dogs, agreed saying, “it's the ultimate solution."
Most of the dogs, he said, are moving from the South to the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic regions because southern states have not been as quick to adopt spay and neuter services.
Pilots who volunteer to transport animals cover all expenses. Shoop, who's been flying for Pilots N Paws for more than three years, has helped nearly 100 dogs find new homes.
“I'm trying to help these poor little critters because they don't have a chance otherwise, “ he said standing beside his five-passenger plane. “The clock is ticking from the time they get into a high kill shelter and for many of them it's life or death.”
According to the Humane Society more than 2 million sheltered cats and dogs are euthanized each year because of a limited amount of space and resources to keep them alive.
Pilots N Paws, founded in 2008, has grown into a nationwide organization with a network of more than 3,000 pilots. On a single day last October, the organization's Fly-Away project rescued more than 500 animals. The organization flies animals into Leesburg several times a month, Wahl said.
To learn more about the organization and the rescued animals go to: http://pilotsnpaws.org/.