Air and Land Rescue

Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team coordinates and transports at-risk animals from danger to safety. Founded in 2012 the team has successfully given a second chance to thousands of animals. With both Air and Ground transport options the team has tremendous flexibility in deploying the right means of transport for any given situation. Departing from our headquarters at the Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin, PA, our single-engine Piper Saratoga TC can fly up to 200 mph and average 200 to 300 nautical miles each way. Other planes in our fleet can cover similar distances depending on the situation. Planes can typically transport 5 to 15 animals depending on their size and weight. Our Air Team consists of up to 10 all volunteer pilots who have flown hundreds of missions over the years.

For longer trips, with more animals, our Mobile Rescue Vehicle can carry up to 70 dogs over 1000 miles roundtrip. Piloted by our volunteers, the “landplane” as we like to call it can make multiple runs each week at times when the planes can’t get off the ground. The Landteam is made up of 30 volunteer “Landpilots” who conduct missions sometimes lasting two days at a time. The Landplane is our workhorse vehicle, logging over 50,000 miles a year.

PAART is networked with shelters, pet adoption services, and smaller rescue groups who inform us of dire situations involving animals who have run out of time. We act as quickly and are always on standby for missions since sometimes timing can mean life and death. The overwhelming majority of our missions are done with moments to spare. Often times these animals are hours away from being euthanized. The animals either move or they die.

How is a Rescue Initiated?

Our typical rescue starts when a shelter contacts us and requests a rescue mission. Typically shelters find out about us on social media or through word of mouth. We work with a large number of both traditional shelters and smaller rescue groups whom we have provided our services to in the past. These shelters, along with new ones, contact us and we begin the process of putting together a rescue. Within a few hours we have everything in place and the mission, either air or ground, is put into motion. The crews for each rescue are selected and briefed on their missions. Finally, when all the pieces are in place the mission is given the green light and the rescue crews spring into action.

The Actual Mission

Each mission requires careful planning and coordination. Before the mission is green lighted a mission “Run Sheet” is generated. This document provided the rescuers, the sending and receiving shelter, and ground support team with everything needed to successfully execute the mission. This document is culmination of hours of work making sure all of the animals are properly vetted before transport and all groups have a clear understanding of who is involved and how the actual rescue will proceed. When working with a new shelter or group our volunteer investigator verifies that the entity we are working with is a 501(c)(3) group in good standing. The Run Sheet is then finalized and sent to the Pilots or Drivers selected for the mission. When we arrive at the pickup location our team verifies that all of the animals have the proper health certificates for transport and we begin the process of loading the animals. When we arrive at the receivng location we transfer the animals to the possession of the receiving entity and hand over all of the documentation.