Animal Rescue Groups Gather To Send At-Risk Pets Out Of State
Animal rescuers from across the state gathered Saturday morning to send dogs and cats facing euthanasia out of the state.
More than 100 animals were flown to Oregon.
“They get to go, first-class,” Fetch Fido, a Flight founder and CEO Vikki Smith said.
The animals were dropped off by overcrowded shelters and animal rescues from across the state.
“It's us having too many of something that we are euthanizing at an alarming rate, and other states have a need for them,” Smith said. “There is no reason to kill these highly adoptable animals.”
She said places like Oregon have much better spay and neuter rates than Oklahoma creating a demand for dogs, while shelters across the Sooner State are bursting at the seams. Smith started Fetch Fido A Flight in 2016, making 24 flights with 2,100 animals.
“There are a lot of pieces that have to fit together, the plane has to be available, we have to have the funding to pay for it, we have to have the shelter space available on the other end to receive these animals,” Smith said.
The chartered cargo flights cost between $16,000 to $22,000. Saturday’s flight had an extra human passenger. Keyboardist Alan Hewitt with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band the Moody Blues traveled with the animals to Oregon.
“These are the lucky dogs that get to get saved and find forever homes,” he said. “It’s about a seven, eight-hour journey. It’s a long trip for them, but when they get there, they are going to be happy.”
“The shelters that are receiving these animals pick them up, they just take them right off the plane, and many of them are adopted within hours or days of arriving,” Smith said.
Smith said stress on shelters in Oklahoma is caused by people not getting their animals spayed or neutered and owners failing to mark their animals with a collar or microchip.
“(The flight) is very much a band-aid for a problem that is bigger than you or me,” she said.
Fetch Fido a Flight is a 501( C)(3) non-profit and each flight is funded through donations. Click here for more information on donating.