The overpopulation of Chihuahuas in California continues to force animal shelters on the West Coast to look to shelters on the East Coast for help – where there is demand for the dogs among apartment-dwelling New Yorkers.
As the only San Francisco-based airline, Virgin America first teamed up with the SFACC to fly needy pups to new homes on the East Coast in 2010 to help address the influx of dogs at shelters on the West Coast. The overpopulation issue has only escalated since then, and as part of its long-standing partnership with and commitment to SFACC, Virgin America yesterday undertook its fifth airlift.
"We're so pleased to again help our friends at the San Francisco Animal Care and Control who do such important work to care for animals in need in our community," said John MacLeod, SVP of Planning and Sales at Virgin America. "We're also excited to roll out the red carpet for the canine guests we have traveling with us today. They will of course be upgraded en route to Newark to our Main Chihuahua Select class."
Virgin America's "Official Pet Liaison," Boo, hosted a special red carpet send-off at the departure gate for his fellow four-legged friends before they begin their journey. The Chihuahuas were received at Newark Liberty International Airport by the ASPCA who will place the little dogs in loving adoptive homes.
Virgin America teammates escorted the dogs on flights to the East Coast and tracked their journey with real-time in-flight updates on Instagram and Twitter.
"We're thrilled to once again partner with our hometown airline – and so excited that a canine celebrity like Boo is coming out to show support," said Rebecca Katz, director of the City of San Francisco Animal Care and Control. "We have a major overpopulation of Chihuahuas here in California. Virgin America's continued support in flying these little guys out to the East Coast over the last few years has helped us place them into loving homes that they couldn't have found here. We encourage Bay Area residents to drop–in and check out their local shelters if they're thinking about adopting."
"The ASPCA is dedicated to ending animal homelessness nationwide, and we are thrilled to do our part today helping to find loving homes for this group of animals from San Francisco while meeting the high demand for these dogs in New York," said Gail Buchwald, senior vice president of the ASPCA Adoption Center. "These Chihuahuas will need time to settle in and receive medical and behavioral evaluations once they arrive so we encourage interested adopters to visit our website to learn about all the available animals at our shelter who need homes for the holidays."
To view photos from yesterday's and past Operation Chihuahua airlifts visit: www.virginamerica.com/vx/operationchihuahua2013.html