200 rescue animals board flight in hopes of finding a forever home

ATWATER, Calif. (KFSN) -- Angela Keeling and Kale Garcia are helping transport hundreds of adoptable pets to their new forever homes. It is something they have made into a Valentine's Day tradition.

"They know they're getting another shot. They're going somewhere fresh and new and I didn't think there's anything I rather do today," said Garcia.

More than 200 cats and dogs from around the Central Valley boarded a plane on Wednesday as part of Wings of Rescue's Valentine's Day freedom flight.

"He called and said, I have a large plane, will you fill it. I said, of course, we can fill it," said Merced County New Beginnings Director Shanon Lohman.

Lohman says more than 170 pets will be sent to no-kill shelters in Seattle and Oregon. Another 45 animals from Tulare and Solano County joined the journey.

Lohman says the adoption rate in Merced County is low, and their chances of survival are slim if they stay.

"You look at these faces, and you can't imagine them all being killed. I'm going, to put it bluntly. They're dead if they don't get out on this flight," said Lohman.

By flying them out, they have a better chance at being adopted. Keeling and Garcia say they have even given in, and taken some of their own fur babies' home.

"We've adopted three dogs, and we adopted one cat," said Garcia.

As the doors close, and the planes take off, dozens of cats and dogs are now getting a second chance at finding a family.
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