Florida pets flown to northeast for adoption

Posted at 3:53 PM, Apr 27, 2016

OPA-LOCKA, Fla. -- Instead of first class seats on this flight, there are only crates on this flight. These cats are taking off toward a better life.

"It’s not a very good outcome down here for kittens if they’re not adopted quickly," said Meagan Hughes from the Darbster Foundation.

Stray cats and dogs have a rough go in South Florida. The county animal shelter can't always find homes for the 15,000 animals every year.

"There is a possibility they would be put down and if they were feral, they would get fixed and put back into the population," said Hughes.

In the northeast, the cold winters force cats to put their breeding on hold. This means there are many families who live there looking for a Floridian feline.

Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue teamed up with the restaurant 'Darbster' to fly homeless dogs and cats to Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Ameriflight in OpaLocka transports them for free.

"Oh yeah we put the cats in the front and the dogs in the back and kind of separate them and hope that no one gets loose and we don't have a catfight," said Pete Zamoyski from AmeriFlight.

Luckily, there haven't been many cat fights but it did take some getting used to for the pilots and control towers.

"They love it on occasion they have asked the crew ‘what's the dog barking in the background," said Zamoyski.

Every Friday afternoon, Darbster and Justin Bartlett pick up animals and bring them to the airstrip.

"It's a great honor and a real pleasure to be able to help them," said Zamoyski.

These cats will be on a four hour and twenty minute plane ride to Bedford, Massachusetts, where they will be met by members of the New Hampshire side of the Darbster Foundation. They’ll get a chance to get settled in, see a vet, and hopefully go home with a brand-new family.

"I always cry it makes me really sad. I know they're going to go home but it's just sad that they have to be shipped somewhere to have a good home," said Hughes.

When paws touched down, it was time for pictures with their new family.

"We get updates all the time. The kittens are spoiled rotten the dogs that were adopted are spoiled rotten," said Hughes.

You can sponsor an animal on their flight "up north". You can find all the information on how to pay for their health exams but visiting the website for Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue.