Florida Pilot Airlifts 1,000th Rescue Animal to Safety

Jeff Bennett flies dogs from high-euthanasia shelters to rescue groups and foster homes.

A dog waits at a kennel in New York City

A dog waits at a kennel in New York City. Jeff Bennett, a pilot, works with a South Carolina charity to save dogs from being killed in high-euthanasia shelters. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Kelly Zhou has written on a variety of topics for TakePart, predominantly politics, education, and wildlife.

If animals believed in superheroes—and who’s to say they don’t?—Floridian Jeff Bennett would be a canine’s Superman, Batman, Iron Man, and Spider-Man all rolled into one.

A pilot, Bennett has airlifted dogs from overcrowded shelters with high euthanasia rates to foster homes and less crowded shelters. And Bennett has finally saved a record 1,000 animals, as reported by the Associated Press on June 21.

“This is a mile marker,” said Bennett.

A retired businessman living in the South, Bennett donates his time to Pilots N Paws, a charity that uses small plane pilots to transport animals to rescue groups and shelters that do not kill the animals.

Bennett reached this 1,000-dog benchmark after more than three years of piloting flights. On a particular trip this June, he flew his four-seat plane from the Florida Keys to Alabama with a whopping 23 dogs onboard. He picked a mixed-breed puppy named Rex to be the special one thousandth animal.

“We have only one other pilot who has accomplished that goal,” said Deborah Boies, the president of Pilots N Paws. “It’s extremely unique. He is truly one of the most dedicated people to Pilots N Paws.”

Do you know anyone who’s gone above and beyond to help animals? Let us know in the comments.

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