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Southwest Airlines Chartered A Special Plane To Help Pets In Hurricane Harvey’s Aftermath

Shelters are overrun after the hurricane.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, over 100,000 homes were destroyed and dozens of people died across southeast Texas and western Louisiana. The hurricane also took a huge toll on the area’s domesticated animal population. Thousands of pets were separated from their families due to the devastation. To create more room for these displaced animals at Houston-area shelters, Southwest Airlines has flown over 80 cats and dogs to the Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego, California.

Photo via Southwest Airlines/Twitter

The pets relocated to San Diego were in shelters before the storm hit and were moved by Operation Pets Alive!, a Houston-area rescue facility. Many of them were facing euthanization because they had nowhere to go. The move freed up space in shelters for the recently-lost animals of the hurricane, waiting to be reunited with their families. But many of these shelters are still in poor condition after the hurricane. “There are shelters that have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey, without electricity, without supplies,” Mike Arms, CEO of the Helen Woodward Animal Center, said in a statement.


“We’re so happy to partner with the Helen Woodward Animal Center to extend hope to Houston by transporting shelter animals to a new home in San Diego,” Southwest Airlines said in a statement. “Our Employees care so deeply for our Customers and all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, including our sweet little four-legged friends.” This isn’t the first time the airline has helped pets in need. In 2012, Southwest Airlines partnered with the Helen Woodward Center to relocate 60 dogs and cats in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.

Click here to help Operation Pets Alive!’s relief efforts.

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