MISSOULA – The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reports that each year around 1.5 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters around the United States.
But that number is decreasing in part thanks to the help of people like Kathy Clarkin, an animal advocate who is working tirelessly to help the animals find their families.
“We rescue pit bulls from high-kill shelters in Texas and then we orchestrate transport to bring them up to Montana to their prospective adopters,” Clarkin said.
“Ninety percent of the time they have adopters waiting and so we scheduled with this one transport and it got hit in Wyoming at 1 o’clock in the morning. And it killed a dog,” Clarkin added.
A transport carrying 43 dogs was bound for Washington State before heading to Missoula on October 20. The transport, however, would never reach its final destination because at 1 a.m. the vehicle was rear-ended going northbound on I-25 just outside of Douglas Wyoming.
Max, was one of the pups was killed on impact and the next day it was discovered that Remi, who was originally missing, was killed as well. Volunteers from Montana, Wyoming, Washington and other surrounding areas helped search day and find missing dogs and puppies.
After being checked by a vet, the dogs were in need of another mode of transportation. That’s when Dr. Peter Rork, the founder of My Dog Is My Co-Pilot, stepped in.
“We just couldn’t say no. We had other plans but we just pushed them back. So I jumped in the plane this morning around 5:30 and flew over to Douglas Wyoming picked up the dogs. And you know the first time they got on the van they probably thought they got the golden ticket but sadly for them, it was interrupted,” said Rork.
Dr. Rork flew the dogs to Missoula and then on to Seattle dropping off dogs to their new owners or to non-kill shelters.
The animals’ new owners picked up their pups from the Missoula International Airport on Sunday afternoon.
There was only one dog, named Duke, on that transport that wasn’t spoken for. He is a 1½-year-old pitbull with a great temperament.
Reporting by Lauren Heiser for MTN News