Tracy Moser, executive director of the Logan County Humane Society, gently took Velveeta, a golden retriever and corgi mix, out of a kennel at the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport on Sunday.
“I’m the best one,” Moser cooed as she turned Velveeta over to volunteers who were helping the pets on a plane to go with Pilots N Paws. The nonprofit organization connects those who rescue, shelter or foster animals with volunteer pilots and plane owners, according to pilotsnpaws.org.
David Tolley of New York was copiloting the 13 dogs from the Logan County Humane Society to New Jersey in hopes that they will become rehabilitated and given to better homes.
“I think it’s awesome. You keep animals from being destroyed this way,” said Tolley, an amateur pilot. “I do this and Angel Flight. They were things I wanted to do with my daughter and her friend. They’re really excited. They’re huge dog lovers.”
His daughter, Soona Lee-Tolley, 13, said she got a dog two years ago.
“Ever since then, I’ve liked dogs,” she said. “I’m excited to be spending time with them.”
Her friend, Eleonor Andersson, 14, said she likes dogs as well.
“I think it’s exciting we’re able to do this. I’ve had a dog since kindergarten,” she said. “I really liked meeting the dogs. They’re so sweet. I thought they’d be calm, but they’re so energetic.”
Moser said the animals had been set to be transported earlier, but Velveeta had her puppies early. She had five – one was stillborn.
“Without rescues, there’s no way we could rehome as many animals as we do,” she said.
The Logan County Humane Society’s animals aren’t only from Logan County. It also gets some animals from seriously overcrowded shelters in Butler and Edmonson counties, Moser said.
“The amount we intake is not a load, so we pull from other shelters,” she said of when they use rescues. “We model our policies for pulling and rehoming animals after (the Bowling Green-Warren County Adoption Center) because it works.”
All the animals were able to go because the plane was a jet rather than a smaller plane, Moser said.
“It’s difficult to rehabilitate in a shelter environment. An animal will act different in a home than in a shelter,” she said. “People can’t fall in love because they’re not coming to the edge” of the cage.
Mya, a terrier mix puppy, is an example.
“Mya wasn’t acting that way at all, so we asked rescue to take her,” she said. “Our shelter is not in an adequate situation where we can comfortably and safely house these animals. We’re spending way more money than we need to. If we had a new shelter it would save money, be less stressful to run and be more inviting to the community.”
The humane society has found land on which to build a new shelter, and its members, including Moser, are trying to convince Logan Fiscal Court of the need for county government to help fund a new shelter. Many have donated money and volunteered time to help fix the existing shelter, but an expert has told Moser that it is like throwing good money after bad. It would be cheaper to build a new shelter than to repair the current shelter to proper standards.