SEATTLE — Shelters in Hawaii sent hundreds of dogs and cats to Seattle as the the islands struggle to find room for the animals as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Maui Humane Society worked with Greater Good Charities and Wings of Rescue to send over 600 pets to the mainland on the "Paws Across the Pacific" flight.
The animals arrived at Boeing Field in Seattle on Thursday.
Some animals will go to shelters and humane societies in Washington state. The flight also stopped in Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the "Wings of Aloha" transfer program was on pause for over six months leaving island shelters overcrowded and outsourced.
"We've been really overrun with a lot of animals and so this is kind of like a miracle and the fact that we're all going to be pulling this off with very limited resources it's really quite a feat in itself," said Jenny Miller, director of development and marketing for Maui Humane Society.
Miller said this is the largest pet rescue flight in history.
“Pet shelters in Hawaii are in a COVID-19 crisis," said Liz Baker, CEO of Greater Good Charities. "Normal operations have been affected by months of shut down, economic downturn, limited hours, and routine flights to mainland halted. The Paws Across the Pacific flight is urgently needed to make space in Hawaii’s shelters for at-risk pets who otherwise wouldn’t be able to receive necessary care to survive.”
The animals will all undergo health checks and get spayed/neutered if needed before their information is posted on the shelter's websites. When they are ready for adoption, people will be able to find the pet's information online.
People can learn more on the Greater Good Charities Facebook page.
Washington partner shelters include PAWS Cat City, The NOAH Center, Seattle Humane, Seattle Area Feline Rescue, Kitsap Humane and the Humane Society of Skagit Valley.