Cats and Dogs rescued from Puerto Rico Land at Sheltair Westhampton Beach (FOK)
Despite the winter weather it was a warm and fuzzy Christmas week for Sheltair Aviation’s facility at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton, Long Island, New York (FOK), as some 130 animals were airlifted in for local adoption, refugees from storm ravaged Puerto Rico.
Working in cooperation with the Animal Rescue Fund (ARF) of the Hamptons, Sheltair employees met the chartered aircraft on the ramp and carefully transported scores of cages filled with dogs of every size, age and description from the aircraft cabin to waiting vehicles that would take them to medical exams.
Ms. Laura Foscolo, Sheltair’s FOK general manager stated, “We are always ready to support a wide range of requests from our passengers and flight crews but this charter flight was a bit out of the ordinary. We would have rolled out the red carpet but these passengers had more immediate needs. Our biggest challenge was making sure our unique guests were transported quickly from aircraft cabin to a warm and secure place. I can just imagine the trauma these rescue dogs have been through and we certainly were not going to add an extra minute getting them to where they needed to be.”
Sheltair placed their entire line crew at the disposal of ARF to make ensure a human chain was created that would carefully take the handling cages off the plane, onto the tarmac and then into waiting vans.
“This is our biggest rescue to date,” ARF representatives told the media that covered the event. The Long Island based organization said they have been working with its rescue partner, Barks of Hope, which continues to operate in Puerto Rico without electricity.
Sheltair’s operations at FOK were put at the full disposal of ARF, including its executive facility, hangar and office complex. In addition, the airport’s 9,000-foot runway allowed the charter jet to operate with a full load of puppy passengers.