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Southwest Airlines & SeaWorld Team Up To Transport Pets Left Homeless By Hurricane Sandy

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Nov 20, 2012 11:57 AM EST

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People weren't the only ones who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. Animals were victims too. Dozens of animals were displaced and orphaned due to the storm. However Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld teamed up to help these animals out.

Sixty cats and dogs who were abandoned after the storm were flown three thousand miles away to Southern California, courtesy of SouthWest Airlines. The animals were transported to the Helen Woodward Animal Shelter in California on Saturday, according to SkyNews.

The animals would have been euthanized in New York and New Jersey, where animal shelters lost power due to the storm. They needed to be moved to make room for other animals in the area.

Jessica Gercke of the no-kill Helen Woodward Animal Centre approached Southwest Airlines and San Diego's SeaWorld to ask for help transporting the animals to the west coast.

Southwest pilots and crew members donated their time while BP paid for the fuel for the flight. Animal handlers from SeaWorld helped watch over the pets on the flight.

"This is definitely a unique flight for Southwest Airlines,"  Chris Pupprecth, the Southwest Station Manager at Newark Airport told CBS.

"I've never done anything like this before. I've worked with animals for a long time, over 20 years or so,"  Jay Tracey, a rescue team member with SeaWorld told CBS.

All of the animals will be vaccinated and spayed and neutered before they are given up for adoption.

Celebrities are also doing their part to help out displaced animals. Television chef Rachel Ray and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals opened a 20,000 square foot shelter in New York  for animals that were left homeless after Sandy.

"The goal is to provide the people who have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy an opportunity to bring their pets in and board them for up to 30 days and really just focus on getting their lives back together," Tim Rickey, spokesperson for the ASPCA, told ABC.

The ASPCA was able to help 16,000 animals that were affected by the storm so far. 

 

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