In 2014, a 9-year-old Chihuahua named Cookie had been at the Castaic shelter in Los Angeles County for four months. She just couldn’t find a home, and time was running out. Cindy Kreeger, manager of the ASPCA L.A. Relocation Team, started networking to find the perfect home for her, and just in the nick of time, Cookie was being flown by Wings of Rescue to the SpokAnimal shelter in Washington state, where, in about five days, a young girl and her family visited the shelter and adopted her. At last, Cookie had found her forever home.
On August 6, some 145 abandoned shelter pets in dire need of adoption also took to the air, following in Cookie’s paw steps to find new homes in Portland, Oregon and Everett Washington. There, in less crowded shelters, many unwanted animals generally find loving homes quite quickly. In 2014, the average adoption time was just six days or less compared to the discouraging, frequently futile month-after-month stays in overcrowded Los Angeles Country shelters.
Teaming up with Wings of Rescue and the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control, the August 6 flights carried the largest number of animals ever pulled from the county shelters in a single day. The dogs and cats were met upon landing by rescue groups in the northwest who are working with less competition to find them the right homes.
According to Lance Hunter, director of the Los Angeles Animal Relocation Program for the ASPCA, the organization launched its Los Angeles Animal Relocation Program in June 2014 and has since joined forces with many overcrowded area shelters and rescue groups to transport some 2,700 animals to less populated areas. The ASPCA relocation staff works closely with the county in selecting the animals for relocation, making sure they are spayed/neutered and their vaccines and microchips are current. Ground transportation via custom-built animal relocation vehicles is also used to help honor the ASPCA’s $25 million commitment to save animals in the Los Angeles area, which also offers a free spay/neuter clinic in South Los Angeles and a Safety Net program that helps keep pets in their homes.
The local relocation program currently has 19 shelter and rescue group partners receiving animals in need of adoption. On a national scale, the ASPCA’s Animal Relocation & Transport helped over 35,000 animals in 34 states between May 2011 and December 2112 through grants and other assistance.
To check out the many ways you can help, go to www.aspca.org/blog/aspca-commits-25-million-to-help-los-angeles-animals .
Photos courtesy of the ASPCA