Over 600 Hawai’i Shelter Pets Board the Largest Pet Rescue Flight in History


Paws Across the Pacific will fly more than 600 shelter dogs and cats from Hawaii to the mainland on October 28, making it the largest animal rescue flight in history, according to organizers. The flight was made possible in coordination with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, Greater Good Charities and Wings of Rescue.

More than 80 of the shelter’s pets aboard Paws Across the Pacific are from the Maui Humane Society.

“Our own Wings of Aloha transfer program has been on hiatus for over 6 months due to canceled flight routes due to COVID. Without the ability to send animals off the island, we rely on foster families to care for our increased animal population, but there are only a limited number of animals our community can absorb. . This opportunity could not have come at a better time and we are so grateful,” said Steve MacKinnon, CEO of the Maui Humane Society.

These healthy, loving pets are moved from overcrowded pet shelters on five islands across the state, then airlifted to shelters in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and New York. Montana where they will be quickly adopted into forever loving homes.

“Pet shelters in Hawaii are in a COVID-19 crisis. Normal operations have been impacted by months of lockdown, economic downturn, limited hours and interrupted routine flights to the mainland,” said Liz Baker, CEO of Greater Good Charities. “The Paws Across the Pacific flight is urgently needed to make room for Hawaii`i’s shelters at-risk pets that otherwise might not receive the care they need to survive.

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On October 28, Paws Across the Pacific will board more than 600 shelter dogs and cats on a chartered Hercules C-130 plane that will stop in Kaua`I, o`the islands ahu, Maui and Hawaiʻi. Hawaii shelter partners include Kauaʻi Humane Society, Hawaiian Humane Society, Lānaʻi Cat Sanctuary, Hawaiʻi Island Humane Society, Maui Humane Society, Aloha ʻIlio Rescue, and Kauaʻi SPCA.

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The C-130 Hercules with more than 2,500 furry paws is expected to arrive at Boeing Field in Seattle late morning Oct. 29, where pet shelters and rescue groups will pick them up, while 120 of the pets from the refuge will continue their journey to Walla Walla and Coeur d’Alene. Continental shelter partners include: PAWS, The NOAH Center, Seattle Humane, the Humane Society of Skagit Valley, Kitsap Humane, Oregon Humane, Southwest Washington Humane, Kootenai Humane Society, Seattle Area Feline Rescue (SAFR), Tracs, Spokanimal, Blue Mountain Humane Society and Embrace an Abandoned Pet Society.

The Paws Across the Pacific Airlift is conducted in coordination with the Hawaiʻi Veterinary Medical Association to ensure the safety and health of pets on the flight. In addition to flying pets to their new families, Greater Good Charities and The Animal Rescue Site provide enrichment and essential medical supplies to help shelters and protected pets in Hawaii.

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