LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — Monday morning- A nonprofit organization, Dog Is My Co-Pilot (DIMCP), flew more than 60 New Mexico shelter animals to no-kill shelters in Idaho and Montana to prevent euthanization.
Volunteers made their way to the Las Cruces International Airport to prep and crate the pooches and cats before liftoff.
Local New Mexico shelters like Animal Service Center of Mesilla Valley has an average monthly population of over 850 pets.
Peter Rork, founder and pilot of DIMCP, says this type of overcrowding leaves the shelters with very few options.
Rork says, "You can adopt them out, you can transport them or you can slaughter them," he continues. "They call it euthanasia because it sounds pretty, but it's really slaughtering perfectly healthy and adoptable animals."
The DIMCP program is five years old and according to Rork has a 98 percent success rate for keeping these pets alive.
The Cessna Cravan 208B that is used for these flights can carry anywhere from 40 to 250 animal passengers, depending on the size of the crates.
According to DIMCP volunteers, every animal transported saves two: the one that is taken from the shelter and the one that will take its place.
The flight costs $7,500 and was made possible by donations.
There were a few dog crates with dogs that did not make the flight, but Tails to Freedom says that they will not be euthanized.
They are working to find fosters for those pups until they have a forever home.
This is the first time DIMCP has partnered with Uncaged Paws, a New Mexico animal welfare advocacy group.