Heroic & Inspiring

300+ Pets Airlifted from El Paso Shelter in Massive Rescue Effort

Last week more than 300 dogs and cats flew by private planes out of a struggling, crowded El Paso, Texas shelter — one of the biggest non-disaster pet rescues in history.

Operation Big Lift | Image via Animal Rescue Corps and BISSELL Pet Foundation

Animal Rescue Corps (ARC), a national animal protection nonprofit, joined BISSELL Pet Foundation to lead a massive pet rescue, one of the largest in history. The groups flew more than 300 dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens from El Paso, Texas to adoption partners in California, New Jersey, and Wisconsin to relieve overcrowding at El Paso Animal Services.  

ARC managed complicated logistics to safely transport pets via private chartered jets to communities with high adoption rates where they will quickly find loving homes. 

Operation Big Lift | Image via Animal Rescue Corps and BISSELL Pet Foundation

This approach to providing much-needed shelter relief is one of the largest efforts of its kind in U.S. history. ARC has been on the ground in El Paso for more than a week overseeing ground operations and making the necessary preparations to safely transport these animals.  

Operation Big Lift | Image via Animal Rescue Corps and BISSELL Pet Foundation

“When organizations like ours join efforts we are able to multiply our effectiveness in providing relief to overcrowded shelters and finding homes for adoptable animals,” said Tim Woodward, ARC’s executive director. “This multi-agency partnership underscores the commitment and collaboration of the animal protection movement to help animals and communities in need. I’m tremendously grateful for the leadership of our partner, BISSELL Pet Foundation and Cathy Bissell, the expertise and time of the University of Florida Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, and the great team at El Paso Animal Services who are working so hard to implement new and life-saving initiatives.” 

Guidance for medical evaluations, testing, and supplies were provided by the University of Florida’s Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, and expedited testing by IDEXX, a global leader in veterinary diagnostics.  

Operation Big Lift | Image via Animal Rescue Corps and BISSELL Pet Foundation

About Animal Rescue Corps
Animal Rescue Corps (ARC) is a national nonprofit animal protection organization that takes direct action in three ways. First, ARC conducts emergency rescues of animals who fall victim to abuse and disaster. Second, ARC offers interventions to move high-risk and at-need animals from low-adoption shelters into high-adoption regions and offers other critical assistance to in-need shelters and communities. Third, ARC raises public awareness of animal suffering and offers training for animal shelters, professionals, civilians, and volunteers. 

About BISSELL Pet Foundation 

BISSELL Pet Foundation is a non-profit pet foundation that provides financial assistance to animal welfare organizations with the goal of reducing the number of animals in shelters and rescues through adoption, spay/neuter programs, microchipping, and foster care. 


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