In early June, the Sequel (our second plane) made its first rescue flight with a new volunteer pilot. We were also able to connect two new partners in Oklahoma and North Dakota. The Sequel is already allowing us to rescue even more animals amidst an ever dire shelter crisis across our nation. According to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary at this very moment, about 100,000 more dogs and cats in U.S. shelters are at risk of being killed compared to this time last year. Because of the pandemic, more pets are entering shelters, fewer pets are being adopted, shelters are short-staffed.
Expanding DIMC requires more volunteer pilots.
Since we now have two planes, potentially doubling our rescue flights, we needed to find some more volunteer pilots. One of our newest pilots is Jason Wojteczko. When Jason is not flying, he is thinking about flying. He comes to us with over 30 years of aviation experience in both private and military backgrounds. Jason currently operates an international aircraft delivery company called Compass Rose Aviation. He also served in the US military for 23 years with multiple combat tours. Learn more about Jason, his four chihuahuas, and the rest of our pilots at https://dogcopilot.org/meet-the-team
New partners in Oklahoma and North Dakota
Ardmore Animal Care in Ardmore, Oklahoma is a brand new animal shelter partner for our rescue team. Our rescue flight picked up 32 animals from this shelter, and another 10 from Tulsa Animal Society of which were a mama and 9 new puppies that were not able to make an earlier transport. Thankfully, an amazing foster family in Enid, OK were able to watch them till our rescue flight in mid June. Transporting pets allows Ardmore Animal Care to have a 90% save rate which is incredible considering the animal welfare crisis in our national sheltering system. We transported this plane load to Souris Valley Animal Shelter, another new shelter partner in Minot, North Dakota. These two shelters are part of a mentoring program established by the Best Friends Animal Society. We are thrilled to be able to offer free transportation services to these amazing organizations.
The State of the Animal Sheltering System
As we talk to our partners about the need for transportation services for their animals, we have found that there are a few issues that are contributing to this crisis in the animal shelter system. First, the COVID-19 pandemic paused many animal spay and neutering services. This has created a backlog of treatment and an increase in animal intake to many shelters. Second, as people have gone back to work and “normal” returns, adoptions across the country have slowly decreased while the intake of new animals has increased. Finally, compounding the already very full shelters, there are not enough people to work in these shelters. The staffing crisis across the country has not spared the animal shelter system. New and old partners alike have the same problem, everyone is short staffed. Before the pandemic, shelters could staff multiple positions from basic animal care to veterinary staff giving a full spectrum of care for rescue animals. Now shelters barely have enough staff to care for the many animals that enter their shelter. Many animals are suffering because there is just not enough staff or resources to support all the pets in their care. Sadly, animal shelters, primarily in the south, have had to euthanize many animals because of lack of space. They are confronted with these difficult decisions for the most at-risk animals in their care.
What you can do
You can help your local shelter or rescue in many ways, including monetary donations, volunteering your time at a shelter or even becoming a foster family. Fostering an animal is the easiest way to alleviate some of the stress on the shelter system. It is going to take help from everyone to get through this crisis and we know our community can help! Now is a great time to adopt a pet and find all the benefits of having an animal in your life.