In San Francisco, pilots have a new name. They are angels of mercy for thousands of dogs. The pilots are flying rescue missions transporting dogs that are scheduled to be put to death out to shelters that do not have a neutering policy. The pilots finance the missions from their own funds and provide their airplanes for the flights.

58 shelter dogs from Los Angeles wait on the tarmac at an airport to be flown to shelters for adoption. Getty Images: Robyn Beck, AFP

58 shelter dogs from Los Angeles wait on the tarmac at an airport to be flown to shelters for adoption.
Getty Images: Robyn Beck, AFP

The flights are part of a nationwide campaign that has seen dogs transported over long distances to save them from being killed in shelters that neuter dogs that have stayed for long without getting someone to adopt them they do this to create space for incoming animals.

This is what the pilots hope to prevent; euthanized pets placed in bins

One of the pilots is Ron Evenhaim. He has flown several flights that he says have made him feel great to know that he played a part in saving the lives of the animals. He says that he has been able to combine his passion for flying with his love for nature and animals. The program is heavily supported by animal right groups such as American Humane Association. The national director of American Humane Association, Justin Scally said that there is a trend towards the transport of animals that are facing euthanasia to get them adopted elsewhere.

Critics of this noble cause say that moving the problem around does not solve it. In any case, they argue that the funding that comes from organizations which support spay and neutering. They insist that neutering and spaying could be the long-term solution instead of spending money transporting the animals. Teresa Chagrin of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals suggested that animal overpopulation cannot be solved by moving them around.

Euthanized dogs

Shelters across America receive close to 8 million animals annually, and nearly half end up being euthanized.

As the debate rages, Ron and his colleagues continue flying their missions of mercy and surely the animals they save are glad to be given an extra day to live, and a chance at being hooked to their best friends, man.

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