Dozens of animals stranded in Houston shelters following Hurricane Harvey are now awaiting new homes in San Diego after Southwest Airlines stepped in, flying an entire plane full of displaced animals and volunteers to their new city.
Southwest Airlines announced that it had teamed up with Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego to assist Houston’s Operation Pets Alive! (OPA) shelter in moving more than 60 cats and dogs.
The animals were in Houston shelters when Harvey hit the city last month, and then temporarily housed at OPA. However, the shelter needed to move the animals in order to make space for pets whose humans are currently displaced from their homes.
“These are the silent victims,” Mike Arms, President of Helen Woodward Animal Center, said. “Operation Pets Alive! has taken in an overwhelming number of orphan dogs and cats who had inhabited [Houston] shelters before the storm and were suddenly facing euthanasia simply because they had no place to go.”
That’s when Southwest stepped in. Offering to transport an entire plane’s worth of animals to San Diego’s Helen Woodward Animal Center.
Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airlines Chief Communications Officer, said that by partnering with the shelter the airline was extending hope to Houston.
“Our employees care so deeply for our customers and all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, including our sweet little four-legged friends,” she said.
Upon arriving in San Diego, the animals received medical care and will eventually be available for adoption.