Source: People (Extract)
Posted: February 10, 2022

A group of animal rescues and nonprofits recently evacuated 285 stranded dogs and cats from Afghanistan as part of an international rescue mission following the withdrawal of U.S. military troops from the country on Aug. 31.

As part of the six-month-long effort, SPCA International (SPCAI) and its partners Kabul Small Animal Rescue (KSAR), War Paws, Marley’s Mutt’s, RainCoast Dog Rescue Society, and Thank DOG I Am Out Rescue Society transported 154 dogs and 131 cats left behind by those who evacuated following the troop withdrawal via private plane to Vancouver, Canada on Feb. 1, according to an SPCAI press release.

“After doing everything in our power to make this evacuation a reality, we are thrilled to report that the animals have arrived safely in Vancouver, Canada, and are enjoying some well-deserved rest after their long journey,” Lori Kalef, the director of programs at SPCA International, said in a statement.

She added that the animals are “are happy, healthy, and ready to find their forever homes or be reunited with their families.”

The pets were stranded after their owners fled Afghanistan amid unrest following U.S. forces leaving the country. Prior attempts to transport the animals were threatened by an explosion at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, skyrocketing flight costs, plane restrictions, and permit requirements, the press release stated.

Additionally, the rescue mission needed to be rerouted to Canada after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s suspension of the importation of dogs into the United States from more than 100 countries considered to be at high risk of rabies, which barred the animals from being brought directly to the U.S.

A public affairs civilian in the U.S. Air Force who had to leave his cat Tay Tay behind in August, pet parents forced to leave their cat Barfi behind, and an Afghan refugee family not able to bring their two cats when they left Afghanistan have all been reunited with their beloved pets thanks to the rescue mission.

“We believe deeply in creating second chances for animals and couldn’t be happier for the hundreds of dogs and cats who will now have theirs,” said Zach Skow, the founder of Marley’s Mutts.

Since the animals arrived in Canada, they have been staying at a temporary shelter before they are adopted or reunited with their previous owners.

Canadian rescues, including No Dogs Left Behind, Rosier Days Dog Rescue, Cats Cradle Animal Rescue, and Greater Victoria Animal Crusaders, have provided support by getting fosters for some of the dogs and cats to help the pets find forever homes.

To help fund SPCA International’s rescue efforts, visit the organization’s donation page.