Pilots N Paws: 5000 Animal Rescue Week Sept.12- 20, 2009

By isak, June 26, 2009

Pilots N Paw | By Chad Greene, for USA TODAYThis post is to alert pet rescuers of a massive relocation opportunity coming in September. Pilots are donating their time, planes and fuel to transport dogs from overcrowded shelters where they face almost certain death to rescue groups and shelters several states away that are committed to finding them homes.

The mission-of-mercy relocations are flown by general aviation pilots who have signed on with Pilots N Paws, a Web-based message board where pilots can access information about animals in need.

Once the electronic connection is made, dogs plucked by rescuers from death row — mostly in the South where sterilization rates are low and pet overpopulation is rampant — are loaded onto small planes and flown one, two or six at a time to rescue groups and shelters that have available space.

Pilots N Paws“These are wonderful dogs that simply had the bad luck of winding up in a place where there are too many pets in shelters,” says Pilots N Paws co-founder Jon Wehrenberg of Knoxville, Tenn. The retired manufacturing executive and weekend pilot has flown scores of dogs from high-kill shelters this year.
excerpted in part from USAToday


[slider title=”Details about the September event “]

from the Pilots N Paws website

5000 Animal Rescue Week Sept.12 through Sept 20th!!

by Jon on Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:36 pm

I am posting this update to the orginial request to let you all know that the week as been chosen…..we are going to do our best to put plans in motion for the week starting Sat., Sept 12 through Sunday, Sept. 20th. If the transports start a little earlier or end a little later that’s ok too!

We are presently working to set up a system attached to this board that will help us coordinate.

What we need from all the rescues who wish to participate is for you to work on your end with setting up sending and receiving locations. Please do your best to keep these flights to a distance of 200 to 400 nautical miles (250 to 450 road miles) This is a reasonable day’s flight for most general aviation pilots, some a little more some a little less. For those of you who have worked with a pilot before, please contact them and see if they are willing to participate that week in September and assist you . We are hoping to work with a large pilot association to see that everyone who needs transport can be accomodated. We have roughly 440 pilots who are members of Pilots N Paws but we do need more.

Regarding media attention, many of us have been fortunate to have stories, filming, newscasts, newspaper articles written about what we do. Please contact whoever you have worked with in the past and let them know this is going to take place. For others, please contact your local newspapers and spark interest in this and contact your local tv stations as well. There are many videos under the NEWS section on our homepage that you can refer people to. Everyone loves to hear about animals being saved! Pitch this event as though animals lives depend on it because they do!

Thank you all and we will keep you updated!! Mark your calendars!!

Debi and Jon


Debi and I are back from our efforts at Sun “n Fun where we had a booth and hopefully encouraged more pilots to volunteer.

However, there is a cloud on the horizon. General Aviation is being threatened, and if some of the current threats are implemented the impact will hurt general aviation and our efforts to make animal transport flights less likely.

The short version is the Transportation Security Administration is attempting to implement stringent security clearance requirements that will make an animal transport a difficult thing. There are other potential threats also, but the one I see as most likely to make rescue transports a thing of the past is the implementation of user fees. The cost of general aviation is already staggering and adding more costs may stop a lot of pilots from flying.

I have proposed that to gain national attention to the problem and make the general public aware of how they need to express themselves to the elected officials is to have a single day or week in which across the nation we transport 5000 animals to safety. Every transport should be covered by the local media and the entire coordinated event should be covered by all the national media. We will have three messages.

First, we need spay and neuter programs. Second, pilotsnpaws needs more volunteer pilots so not request goes unasnwered, and finally the general public needs to hear this effort to transport animals at risk is at risk itself if the previously mentioned issues are allowed to occur.

My question is simple………Can the shelters and pulling rescues arrange for a single day when 5000 animals will be available for transport, and those 5000 animals will have a receiving rescue or a safe forever home? If so we will work with as many pilot organizations as possible to make available the necessary pilots with planes.

Your response will determine if we go ahead with this plan or if we lack the support on the rescue side.
Cessna P210N, ATP
500 NM legs Okay, 1000 miles per day OK
Hard IFR Okay



  1. isak says:

    Glad to hear from you.

    Thanks to you both for the work you do. It’s incredible what individuals working with a similar goal can do. I think the animals’ eyes say “thanks” beyond words. Reward enough.

    I will be happy to write a post about your books to help spread the word.

  2. Kyla Duffy says:

    My husband just signed up to fly with Pilots and Paws. We also just purchased our first pair of “Mutt Muffs” to help ease the noise level for the dogs we transport. We’ve been working with MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue for about two years now, and we just LOVE fostering!

    Thanks for posting the article. You might also want to know about my effort to raise money for dog rescue groups. My company, Happy Tails Books, is publishing breed-specific storybooks about rescued dogs. The first book, “Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspirational Stories of Adopted Boston Terriers” is available for pre-sale on our website and at Amazon. We are currently collecting stories for our Golden Retriever book and our Lab book. I hope if any of your readers has a good story about their adopted dog they will send it over! The website is //happytailsbooks.com.

    Thanks a bunch!

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