Humane Society seeks fosters for flight rescue

Published 5:17 pm Monday, February 17, 2014

The Chilton County Humane Society is seeking volunteers to temporarily care for animals before leaving on a mass flight rescue March 1.

“We need foster parents to take these animals in for two weeks so we can get them on the airplane,” Chilton County Humane Society rescue volunteer Tina Austin said. “Animals up for rescue have to be quarantined for a certain period of time. They will not take them straight out of the shelter.”

The mass flight rescue will depart from Alabama on March 1 with volunteer pilots through a rescue organization, Pilots N Paws.

The organization was founded in 2008 and allows private pilots, who are willing, the ability to transport animals to people and organizations who rescue, shelter or foster animals.

Pilots N Paws takes different kinds of animals including dogs, cats, pigs, reptiles and rabbits on various flights to different rescues.

Although Terry said the majority of animals eligible for rescue in Chilton County are dogs, there are three cats waiting to be fostered before leaving with Pilots N Paws.

Once the animals depart with Pilots N Paws, Austin said they will be taken to three different rescue organizations in Florida.

“These animals will be going to a good home,” Austin said.

One of the requirements for an animal to be considered for rescue is all animals transported to various organizations must be outside of a shelter for two weeks to ensure the dogs don’t come down with diseases.

This often poses a problem with the rescue system due to a lack of individuals willing to foster animals in their homes during the “quarantine” period.

“The good thing about becoming a foster parent is it is temporary,” Austin said. “You can take the animal home and treat it like your own but it doesn’t stay with you forever. It is also good practice for someone who might be interested in getting a dog at some point to be able to see what it would be like.”

Humane Society Director Jessica Terry said rescue programs are a tremendous help to the shelter by creating extra space for new animals.

“Currently, we are at our maximum capacity,” Terry said. “We have 120 animals at the shelter, and we have 17 animals who are waiting to go to a foster home so they can be put on the flight.”

Terry and Austin explained the process for becoming a foster parent is simple and requires a few steps.

“Anyone interested in becoming a foster parent can come fill out an application at the shelter,” Terry said. “We require that fosters have an outside kennel or a proper way to keep an animal in a place where they can’t escape and be able to provide food for the animal until the day they are transported to their rescue organizations.”

Terry said the shelter was hit with several new animals brought in over the weekend creating space issues.

“I’m not sure why we are getting hit so hard right now,” Terry said. “Most of the new animals that were brought in over the weekend are litters. There were also quite a few strays. If we can get some of these animals taken to foster homes to be transported for rescue it will help us out a lot.”

For more information about becoming a foster parent, call the Chilton County Humane Society at (205) 755-9170.