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The National Geographic states that 2017 hurricane season was the most expensive in U.S. history. Major storms, including Harvey, Maria, and Irma, caused unprecedented damage.

In addition to all the human suffering, these storms also created a deluge of lost and abandoned pets. Even though the Human Society moved animals in Texas shelters to other parts of the country to make room for the consequences of Hurricane Harvey, about 120 dogs still had to be flown to San Diego County from overcrowded shelters in the hurricane-stricken area.

PAARTAny storm, disaster, or other traumatic event can lead to a large number of displaced pets. The Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team (PAART) regularly provides transport to help save animals affected by these types of disasters. Working with FEMA, the ASPCA, and other organizations, they pitch in to transport animals all over the country.

The group maintains a small fleet of available aircraft, which serves as the first line of defense in rescuing animals. They also provide land rescue, using a mobile rescue vehicle they call the “landplane” to transport large numbers of animals over great distances without regard to weather conditions that would normally ground the air-fleet.

Chaffin Luhana team member and Medical Records/Intake Specialist, Monica DeRose, is well aware of the good work the team does. Her husband’s coworker, Ralph Harlin, Jr., spends countless hours of his time with PAART to rescue animals.

“One of his latest rescues,” she says, “was flying down to Sarasota, Florida to rescue seven dogs from Korea who were slated for less than humble lifestyles. Another mission involved transporting shelter dogs from Florida to Pittsburgh, to offer space for temporary housing for pets of local Florida residents whose homes were affected by the latest tropical storms.”

At DeRose’s request, the Chaffin Luhana Foundation is donating $250 to PAART to help support their efforts to reunite owners with their animals, and to keep abandoned animals from suffering abuse or neglect. If you’d like to contribute as well, you can make a donation via the information listed below:


Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team (PAART)

15 Allegheny County Airport

Pittsburgh, PA 15122



To Donate:

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