Wings of Rescue airlifts 500 dogs

More than 500 shelter dogs enjoyed a true Christmas Miracle at the Third Annual Wings of Rescue Holiday Airlift as they were whisked away to 11 cities in the Pacific Northwest aboard 14 flights leaving Van Nuys Airport (VNY) in Southern California.

Organizers called it the largest dog airlift in the West, according to a report in the VNY Newsletter.

“We either do it or the dogs die, so the choice is clear,” Woodland Hills real-estate developer Yehuda Netanel, a native of Israel and cofounder of Wings of Rescue, told the Daily News.

Since 2009, the organization has flown more than 6,000 Southern California shelter dogs to safety in the Pacific Northwest and Canada and organizes private pilots and planes to take the dogs to “forever” homes or rescue organizations where they will be adopted instead of euthanized.

The dogs – mostly Chihuahuas, terriers, and other small dogs that have overrun Southern California shelters – were all saved in the 11th hour before being put down, organizers say.

An army of volunteers from more than 120 rescue groups from the Greater Los Angeles region helped each dog board one of more than a dozen private planes that were lined up on the future Van Nuys Airport Propeller Park, with support donated by Pacific Aviation Development.

“I’m a dog lover, an aviation lover,” said Pacific owner Steve Argubright. “This is one of those things that general aviation (pilots) do.”

Pilots interested in participating in next year’s Wings of Rescue Holiday Airlift or fly a rescue mission any time next year can contact Yehuda Netanel at or go to


  1. Liz Linkletter says

    Thank you for savings these lives..for it how we treat the least of these creatures as to how we will be treated when our time comes.

  2. Mary Ann says

    You people are wonderful, so many heartbreaking stories on animal shelters and abused animals, it’s great to hear some good news. It’s time to really look at anyone who abuses animals, because the next step is a human, most likely a child. My prayer is for no more kill shelters and everyone works together to place these animals. You all have my admiration!

  3. Kate KB says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! In a time when it seems so bleak in the rescue world, Angels appear out of the air. I am humbled by your heart and your ability to give. Thank you again…

  4. Bonnie Steinholz says

    Bless you all with a wonderful happy and healthy New Year! You are brilliant!! I have, on my own, been trying to fly dogs out of California to New York and no one will help me! Do you guys ever fly the Chihuahuas to the East Coast? We love them here! Thanks So Much!

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