Animals

Volunteers Evacuate Shelter Pets From the Path of Hurricane Dorian

Find out how to support their ongoing effort and even adopt the rescued pets.


When mandatory evacuations are ordered before a hurricane hits, families get in their cars and go to a safer place. But what about the dogs and cats in animal shelters who don't have families to protect them?

That's where volunteers come in, like the wonderful people at Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team or PAART. PAART's volunteer pilots fly around the country to rescue shelter animals all the time. But they kick into high gear during disasters, flying into threatened communities and bringing animals back to western Pennsylvania and Ohio shelters, not only protecting them from danger, but freeing up shelter space in those cities for pets that are displaced or left homeless by the disaster.

So far, PAART volunteers have rescued 29 dogs from Dorian, including these guys.

PAART volunteers have been in the air and on the roads all weekend rescuing pets from the path of Hurricane Dorian:

Here's what they've done so far:

  • PAART Air Pilot Rebecca Mihalcik and her team just got back from rescuing 11 cats and 2 dogs from an overcrowded animal shelter in North Carolina, flying 1000 miles to airports in two states to get them.
  • "Landpilots" (people who drive to the shelters instead of fly) Brittany and Emily Lewkowicz evacuated 11 dogs Saturday from the Charleston Animal Society , which was supposed to be a holding shelter for displaced Dorian pets, but now may be in the line of the storm themselves.
  • A second landpilot team, David Stash and Kim Schaeffer returned Sunday from Charleston with 16 dogs, 12 cats, and 2 rabbits.

Pilot Rebecca Mihalcik recently lost her cat Elwood and dedicated her mission to him.

"There are very few words to describe people who would spend 48 hours driving over 1500 miles" to rescue helpless pets, said PAART's Jonathan Plesset, blogging on the group's website.

"In the animal rescue world we would call those people heroes."

"We are super proud of our volunteer team, our Pilots, our Landpilots, and our staff for moving mountains to make this happen. Great work everyone!" praised Jonathan.

23 cats are now safer out of the path of Dorian.

If you are interested in adopting these special animals please look for posts from Animal Friends , Angel Ridge Animal Rescue , The Humane Society of Lawrence County PA , Cross Your Paws Rescue , Kitty Queen Cat Rescue in Western PA, and Clermont Animal CARE Humane Society in Batavia, OH.

You can also support PAART financially in their rescue missions by clicking here , or click here to learn more about how to become a rescue volunteer -- pilots welcome!

You might also be interested in another story of rescuing helpless animals from the storm: Woman Shelters 97 Dogs in Her Own Home During Hurricane

(Video & Images: PAART Website and Facebook page )

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