Clear the Shelters: Animal Flight Rescue doing their part

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Saturday NBC and Telemundo stations across the country are teaming up with hundreds of animal shelters to match homeless pets with new homes.

In their own words, an organization called Animal Rescue Flights shares the important work they do.

Clark Bergarn, cofounder, explains how it got started, "I cofounded Animals Rescue Flights in 2008. Animal Rescue Flights is an organization made up of volunteer pilots who transport animals from kill shelters typically in the southeast, northward to rescues. Mostly animal rescue flights flies dogs, we've
done cats? We had rabbits? We even had a chimpanzee. Three to four million animals a year end up being euthanized due to overcrowded shelters. It is very important to get the animals out before their time limit expires. Transporting them by air is a very fast and sufficient way to do it. And for the pilots to participate in this gives them a great reason to fly. Animal rescue flights was contacted by the Westchester SPCA that there were five Chi Mixed puppies down south Mississippi at Homeward Bound an organization which was able to rescue these puppies from a very bad scene. The transport began yesterday with a pilot who picked up the five puppies in Mississippi and flew them to Tennessee. Today, the puppies have just taken off and they are going to be flown up to Virginia. That pilot will then be flying them to Cape May, New Jersey where they will meet the third and final pilot who will fly them back here to Westchester County.

James Wilson a volunteer pilot said, "I'm a volunteer pilot for Animal Rescue Flights. Today my job is to fly the fourth leg to deliver the puppies to New York. Right now we're waiting for the other pilot Nick to land."

Nick O'Connell President of Animal Rescue Flights, "I've been a pilot for 25 years. I've flown over a thousand animals to safety. Dogs, especially puppies, can't clear their ears. So we always try to take a slow ascend and a slow descend so it doesn't really hurt their ears."

Wilson said, "Let's go rescue some puppies. I realized i'm going to be transporting rescue animals through all of
this. this is amazing."

Bergarn explains, "Well we just arrived at the White Plains airport and the SPCA of Westchester folks are here to meet the dogs. It's hard to let them go."

The Dinahin family adopted Buddy and the Chiofalls added Luna to their family.

The Dinahin family said, "People came together and we all feel very special to be apart of this journey."

Wilson said, "To be able to enjoy the thing that I love and then to also know that I am helping animals, it's amazing."


"I think every pilot who participates in a flight like this feels like a superhero because they really are rescuing,"says Clark

O'Connell said, "You're saving lives and when you save lives you're doing a good thing."