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Local shelter dogs flown to new homes in New York

December 20, 2018
Lori Wolfe/The Herald-Dispatch Courtney Proctor Cross, executive director at the Huntington Cabell Wayne Animal Shelter, says goodbye to 18 dogs from the shelter Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018, at Huntington Tri-State Airport. Seventeen dogs from Cabell Wayne Animal Shelter were flown out of Huntington Tri-State Airport Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018, to New York City as part of an animal rescue mission.

HUNTINGTON - As they sat outside the Huntington Tri-State Airport Jet Center on Wednesday, the 17 dogs that formerly resided at the Huntington Cabell Wayne Animal Shelter had no idea what the future had in store for them.

They had no idea they were about to be fitted into a small plane and whisked off to New York City, where they will meet their new foster families before heading to their new forever homes. They were just happy to be out of their cages and hanging out with friends.

The shelter dogs were sent to Louie’s Legacy Animal Rescue, which works to find new homes for animals at open intake shelters across the country. Louie’s Legacy has been taking animals from the Huntington shelter for years thanks to partnerships with local rescue groups One By One Animal Advocates and Advocates Saving Adoptable Pets (ASAP).

But it’s rare the animals have to fly to their destinations. Wednesday’s flight was thanks to the Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team, or PAART, which flies animals all over the country to their new homes.

Chief pilot Lawrence “Pete” Lehmann flew into the Huntington Tri-State Airport to pick up the dogs and fly them to New York.

“I’ve been as far as Texas and as far east as eastern Long Island,” Lehmann said. “Chicago. All through the south to the Carolinas. It was an opportunity to fly, and I like animals.”

Working with rescue organizations like Louie’s Legacy and PAART is vital to the shelter’s goal of becoming no kill. While the shelter will always provide euthanasia services to the community by law, it can still reach “no kill” status by only euthanizing severely sick or aggressive animals.

Thanks to volunteer and rescue help, the shelter did not euthanize an animal in November, said shelter director Courtney Proctor Cross.

Proctor Cross’ eyes filled with tears as the last dog was loaded into the plane. She said it’s a different feeling than when she gets to watch pets get adopted because all she can do is hope for the best. But the shelter has researched the rescue organizations they work with so she knows her pups will be in good hands when they land in the Big Apple.

Thanks to stricter spay and neuter laws in other parts of the country like the Northeast, adoptable pets are in high demand, said Martha Cummings, volunteer coordinator at the shelter and president of ASAP. That’s why the relationship between the shelter and the rescue groups works so well.

The 17 dogs will barely put a dent in the booming population at the animal shelter. Through the end of the year, the Huntington Cabell Wayne Animal Shelter is having an adoption special. Dogs will be $50, puppies $95, cats $10 and kittens $25. The adoption price includes the first set of shots, a wellness visit and a voucher for a free spay/neuter at participating vets.

The shelter also welcomes foster families and foster field trips, which is basically renting a dog for a day.

For more information, contact the shelter at 304-696-5551. The shelter is located at 1901 James River Road.

Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.

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