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Pittsburgh animal rescue team, shelters to help Harvey-ravaged Texas

Bobby Cherry
| Friday, Sept. 1, 2017, 12:42 p.m.
Animal Friends partnered with Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team to send supplies to animal shelters affected by Hurricane Harvey. The air rescue team will return to the Pittsburgh area on Sept. 4, 2017, with 27 dogs that will be placed up for adoption. The dogs are from Texas shelters that were seeking to clear cages to help with displaced animals in the hurricane's aftermath.
Submitted by Animal Friends
Animal Friends partnered with Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team to send supplies to animal shelters affected by Hurricane Harvey. The air rescue team will return to the Pittsburgh area on Sept. 4, 2017, with 27 dogs that will be placed up for adoption. The dogs are from Texas shelters that were seeking to clear cages to help with displaced animals in the hurricane's aftermath.
Animal Friends partnered with Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team to send supplies to animal shelters affected by Hurricane Harvey. The air rescue team will return to the Pittsburgh area on Sept. 4, 2017, with 27 dogs that will be placed up for adoption. The dogs are from Texas shelters that were seeking to clear cages to help with displaced animals in the hurricane's aftermath.
Submitted by Animal Friends
Animal Friends partnered with Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team to send supplies to animal shelters affected by Hurricane Harvey. The air rescue team will return to the Pittsburgh area on Sept. 4, 2017, with 27 dogs that will be placed up for adoption. The dogs are from Texas shelters that were seeking to clear cages to help with displaced animals in the hurricane's aftermath.

Pittsburgh area shelters are opening cages in an effort to help Texas animal shelters in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Ohio Township-based Animal Friends will receive 27 dogs Monday as part of a partnership with the Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team , shelter spokeswoman Shannon Tremblay said.

“This will help to free up space in the Texas animal shelters so they can help the animals displaced by the flooding,” Tremblay said.

The nonprofit aviation animal rescue team will send four members to San Antonio, Texas, on Friday night, where they will assist in efforts to ease overcrowding at a shelter.

PAART will return Sept. 4 with animals who were in shelters prior to Hurricane Harvey, rescue team organization Executive Director Mary​ ​Withrow said.

“We​ ​have​ ​been​ ​in​ ​constant​ ​contact​ ​with​ ​shelters​ ​in​ ​hurricane​-ravaged​ ​parts​ ​of​ ​Texas,” she said.​ “​Our​ ​team​ ​has been​ ​on standby​ ​waiting​ ​for​ ​the​ ​word​ ​to​ ​go.”

On Thursday, the rescue team received word that their services were needed “and​ ​we​ ​are​ ​headed​ ​down​ ​for​ ​the​ ​first​ ​of​ ​a multi-part​ ​mission​ ​to​ ​offer​ ​hope,” she said.

PAART will drop off dogs at shelters on their way back to Pittsburgh, and the group will deliver other dogs to Pittsburgh area shelters, including Animal Friends, Humane Animal Rescue, Beaver​ ​County​ ​Humane​ ​Society, All​ ​But​ ​Forgotten, Angel​ ​Ride​ ​Animal​ ​Rescue, and Pet​ ​Search.

“We​ ​are​ ​very​ ​careful​ ​that​ ​we​ ​are​ ​only​ ​removing​ ​animals​ ​already​ ​in​ ​the​ ​system​ ​to​ ​avoid​ ​taking​ ​family​ ​pets​ ​who end​ ​up​ ​in​ ​the​ ​shelter,” PAART co-founder Brad​ ​Childs said. “We​ ​want​ ​to​ ​give​ ​the​ ​people​ ​of​ ​Texas​ ​the​ ​time​ ​and​ ​space​ ​they​ ​need​ ​to​ ​come​ ​back​ ​and claim​ ​their​ ​animals.”

Withrow said a second group from PAART will leave Pittsburgh on Sept. 3 and that a third trip already is being planned.

PAART's mission is to rescue at-risk dogs, cats and other animals. The group was formally founded in 2012 by Childs and Jonathan Plesset, according to its website. Childs is regional​ vice​ president of​ ​Eyetique and Plesset owns Shadyside​ ​Inn All​ ​Suites​ ​Hotel. Since its inception, the group has saved more than 6,000 animals.

The Big Easy Animal Hospital in Lawrenceville was planning to open its 56 kennels to animals from Texas, said practice manager Becky Frazier.

“We have two vets who were thinking about going down there, but then we thought maybe we could do more from here,” she said. The practice was reaching out to PAART, Animal Friends and other rescue groups to find animals they could take in, and were seeking donations and volunteers for when they arrive.

Animal Friends helped the animal aviation rescue team fill their planes with supplies for animal shelters in Texas, Animal Friends' Tremblay said.

“But in order to admit as many of the pets as they can, Animal Friends needs help emptying the full kennels they have now,” Tremblay said.

Matthew Santoni contributed to this report. Bobby Cherry is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rcherry@tribweb.com and on Twitter at @bc_trib. Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at msantoni@tribweb.com or on Twitter at @msantoni.

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