PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – On any given weekend at the Allegheny County Airport, there’s something special going on.
Planes are landing filled with dogs.
Pittsburgh has become a safe haven for these animals who were on the brink of death.
Brad Childs and Jonathan Plesset are the founders of Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team, otherwise known as PAART.
Several years ago, they got their pilot’s licenses. Joy rides in the plane were fun, but a friend asked Childs to fly a dog named Monty.
He was a deaf American Bulldog who needed to be rescued
Plesset remembers the conversation he had with Childs after that rescue flight.
“He said, ‘This is the greatest thing I did. This is amazing. We have to get into this,'” Plesset said.
So, the two best friends decided to use their plane to rescue animals in need. They now transport dogs on a regular basis from bad situations in other parts of the state, Ohio and West Virgina, to name a few.
“These dogs are going to be euthanized,” says Plesset.
“A lot of times we are jail breaking these dogs. We are literally coming within minutes, seconds, before they’re being put down,” says Childs.
Armed with dozens of volunteers on the ground and in the air, PAART flies to places like Ohio and West Virginia. They rescue dogs from shelters that can’t care for them anymore. In some cases, they are transporting dogs that have been taken away from dog fighters.
“If you are an animal abuser, we will come after you. We will take them out of that situation. We will find a home for them,” says Childs.
Many of the rescued dogs are brought to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, where they are checked out and put up for adoption.
To date, PAART has transported 600 dogs from danger to safety, and there’s no sign of stopping.
“We literally look forward to this. I am so excited to wake up and fly this plane and do this wonderful thing and give a dog that doesn’t have a chance get a chance,” says Plesset.
There have been some mishaps, like the Great Dane who ate the rear seat of one of the planes or the dogs who try to climb in their laps while they are flying. But, Plesset and Childs say it’s all worth it.
“They have a chance at life. That’s what we’re here for,” Childs said.
For more information on adopting a rescued animal, visit www.wpahumane.org
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