Every year, thousands of dogs and cats are abandoned at overcrowded animal shelters in Kern County. But, on Monday, dozens of local homeless animals were transported on a private plane to find new homes.
Just north of Bakersfield at the Epic Jet Center, dozens of abandoned dogs and cats boarded a plane for a second chance at life.
"It touches my heart. It makes me very happy," said Shannon Corbit, volunteer with Porterville Animal Control.
After spending weeks in overcrowded shelters, the animals will find new homes outside California.
"They deserve to have a life. They deserve to have a home," continued Corbit.
Wings of Rescue called the operation "Santa's Flight."
"It's the best Christmas any of us could ever have to see those dogs get a home," said Linda Hodges, Unity Thrift Outreach Rescue.
It's part of one of the largest dog rescues ever organized on the West Coast.
A dog named "Momma" and her new babies are headed to Washington. 50 dogs and 15 cats made the five-hour flight on a private plane.
As the aircraft made its way down the runway, there were hugs and tears of joy from volunteers.
"We all get these little dogs who've had a rough life and we get to love on them and get to send them to their next destination," continued Hodges.
The animals were saved from from shelters in Porterville, Taft, Lancaster and Bakersfield.
"For some reason, they're just discarded as a piece of property and they're more than that," explained Hodges.
Now, the animals will find homes in places where there's a demand for animals.
"They have spay and neuter laws in place which prevents them from having the overpopulation problem we have here in the Central Valley," noted Corbit.
Some of the rescued animals had just hours to live, but rather than meet a tragic end they will get a second chance in loving homes.
Wings of Rescue has saved about 5,000 animals in the last year and a half. The dogs and cats from Kern County will go to new homes in Washington, Oregon, and Canada.
To learn more about Wings of Rescue, go to