11:41 AM CST, December 7, 2012
VAN NUYS, Calif. (KTLA) -- Hundreds of dogs are getting the best Christmas gift they could hope for: a second chance with loving homes.
An estimated 300 dogs of all shapes and sizes were brought to Van Nuys Airport Friday morning and loaded onto private planes.
The dogs are from numerous area animal shelters, and some were in danger of euthanasia, organizers said.
"Today we're flying eight to nine planes," said Rene Ruston, of the Wings of Rescue organization.
"They're all volunteer pilots," she explained. "They're volunteering their time and their planes to help us take these animals to safety."
"I think that rescuing dogs and pets in Southern California is an under-served effort, so we're happy to help out and rescue these critter," pilot Neal Singh said.
The lucky dogs are heading to new homes in the Pacific Northwest, as well as the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Palm Springs.