MANCHESTER, NH – If you’ve never seen a conveyor belt of cats and dogs being unloaded from a chartered airplane into the waiting arms of animal lovers whose job it will be to find them forever homes, it looks a lot like hope. On Aug. 2 that hopeful scene unfolded at Wiggins Aviation at the Boston-Manchester Regional Airport.
The mission, known as Clear The Shelters, is an annual effort to do just that by transporting abandoned cats and dogs from overpopulated shelters in Florida, Alabama and Louisiana and delivering them, this year, to shelters in New Jersey and New Hampshire – states with the highest animal adoption rates. In total, 250 future pets get a shot at a better life, 150 of them dispersed to New Hampshire shelters.
The transport is in direct response to a crisis in animal shelters – 90,000 more animals entered shelters than left in 2022, according to Shelter Animals Count database.
NBCUniversal Local, Greater Good Charities, Hill’s Pet Nutrition and The Animal Rescue Site partner each year to make this happen and expect to achieve their one-millionth adoption in 2023 since the program began eight years ago.
The animals delivered to Manchester on Wednesday, once settled in, will be available for adoption through New Hampshire SPCA (Stratham), Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire (New Bedford), Conway Area Humane Society (Conway), Monadnock Humane Society (Swanzey), Pope Memorial Humane Society Cocheco Valley (Dover), Pope Memorial SPCA (Concord), Upper Valley Humane Society (Enfield), Lakes Region Humane Society (Ossipee). Also receiving is the Robert Potter League for Animals in Rhode Island (Middletown).
Many of the animals would otherwise not have a second chance at a forever home, according to Dr. Beth Nichols, a veterinarian with Hill’s Pet Nutrition who was on the ground at the airport to greet the animals and address any pressing issues. Some of the animals in the transport included harder-to-place or vulnerable pets, like dogs with asymptomatic heartworm, homeless cats and large dogs. All the animals will receive any medical care needed and then become available for adoption.
Greater Good Charities is a global nonprofit organization that works to help people, pets, and the planet and continues to be the fundraising partner for Clear The Shelters. Since 2007, Greater Good Charities has provided more than $575 million in cash grants, in-kind supplies, and programmatic support worldwide. Through Good Flights, Greater Good Charities conducts life-saving airlifts and supports ground transport for at-risk pets, with a heavy focus on asymptomatic heartworm-positive dogs, homeless cats, harder-to-place large dogs, and disaster-relief pets.
This year’s campaign will again feature online donations to participating shelters or rescues during the campaign at ClearTheSheltersFund.org.
Since its 2015 inception, NBCUniversal Local’s Clear The Shelters has helped more than 860,000 pets find new homes. The 2022 campaign established a new single-year record with more than 161,000 adoptions, while also raising more than $540,000. Nearly 1,400 animal shelters and rescues covering all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam participated in last year’s campaign.