The Sato project volunteers carry pets from airplane
Photo by Alexandra Lloyd courtesy of The Sato Project

300 Homeless Pets Were Rescued in "Freedom Flight" From Puerto Rico


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Over the weekend, 300 rescue cats and dogs left Puerto Rico to start their new lives. Multiple animal welfare groups participated in the project, bolstered by donations from Tito's Handmade Vodka, the Amerisource Bergen foundation, The RTA Store, Christopher Harding and Flew the Coop, Sydney Hale and Co., Sidewalk Angels Foundation, and individual donors.

The flight, dubbed the "Freedom Flight," is operated by pet transport charity Wings of Rescue. While there, the organization also dropped off 6,000 pounds of pet food generously donated to Puerto Rican shelters by BarkBox. The coordination for this incredible feat was done by The Sato Project, a rescue organization out of New York that focuses on saving animals from Puerto Rico's beaches and streets. They ensured that the desperately needed pet food reached the shelters, rescuers, and owners in need. The rescued 165 dogs and 135 cats flew on two cargo planes before landing in New York and Maine. Many of the pets had new families anxiously awaiting their arrival.

"We are thrilled to be the main transportation link in this impressive one-day rescue effort to save 300 lives and bring happiness and joy to countless families and individuals," said Ric Browde, President of Wings of Rescue. "The Sato Project and the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland are among the finest rescue groups in the country, and we are fortunate to have financial support for these missions from the pet-friendly team at Tito's Handmade Vodka, who are, along with our other supporters, committed to saving lives and generating happy endings."

Wings of Rescue has been transporting pets to new homes since 2012. Their funds are all from donations. Over the years, they've given 62,00 dogs and cats a lift to safety, ensuring the animals are as comfortable as possible in pressurized, temperature-controlled planes. Don't worry about local shelter pets being skipped over for these guys, though. The dog and cats flown in by Wings of Rescue only go to areas where deserving pets awaiting their homes in local shelters won't be displaced.

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woman meets with rescue dogs

Photo by Alexandra Lloyd courtesy of The Sato Project

The Sato Project has been rescuing dogs since 2011, making sure they get high quality veterinary care, and finding them good, loving homes. So far, they have rescued 6, 200 dogs.

"With peak hurricane season right around the corner, my team and I are determined to transport as many of these animals off the island as possible while it is still safe to fly," said Chrissy Beckles, Founder and President of The Sato Project. "We are so grateful to our transport partner, Wings of Rescue, all of our shelter and rescue partners, and donors. This massive undertaking would not be possible without a great deal of hard work and collaboration. Together, we are giving 300 deserving animals a second chance at life."

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READ MORE: Firefighters Rescued a Stray Kitten From an ATM and Gave Him the Best Name

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