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Bay Area Pet Rescue Organization Saving Animals from Harvey's Wrath

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) -- Livermore-based Wings of Rescue is coming to the rescue of hundreds of cats and dogs that had been living in animal shelters in now-flooded areas of Texas.

The goal of removing animals that had already been placed in Texas shelters prior to Harvey's arrival is to relocate those animals, thereby creating more space in the already crowded shelters in and around Houston. That, in turn, creates more room for the animals currently being rescued from Harvey's

The hope is that pets currently being rescued from Harvey flood waters can temporarily be cared for in shelters and reunited with their owners, many of whom may themselves be in shelters, evacuation centers or other temporary living quarters away from home.

"We learned from (Hurricane) Katrina to not just go in and pick up every single pet we see and fly it out because these pets do have families that are going to come looking for them," explained Wings of Rescue founder, Cindy Smith. "So, that's our strategy this time."

Smith told KCBS that the charter planes are departing from Oakdale, CA, and will take the Texas shelter animals to Oregon, New Jersey, Colorado and Virginia, but not the Bay Area.

"Thousands," she described the number of animals she ultimately expects to relocate. "We've already flown close to 500 pets already and (on Wednesday) we're sending out our third and fourth plane. We have another plane for (Thursday) and we're chartering an even bigger plane for Saturday. And that plane should be able to carry 250 pets."

"These are cargo planes," said Smith. "There are no seats, there are no windows. It's a wooden floor and it's perfect for what we do."

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