Winter Park pilot rescues 'death row' dogs

Millions of perfectly healthy pets are put down every year in shelters across this country. Overpopulation is a major issue, and it seems like there's no end in sight, but a Winter Park man is helping rescue pets from death, one flight at a time.

Pilot Michael Young, who once flew for fun, is now on a mission to rescue as many homeless pets as possible.  For the last four years, he has used his personal plane to fly in dogs pulled from high-kill shelters in rural areas -- he has transported around 800 dogs to date.

The process is coordinated by local rescues and volunteers. They decide which dogs to pull, and then they call Young.  Often times, it's pups that are at highest risk of being put down.

"Whenever these guys hit the euthanasia list, we pull out what we can pull out and then mike flies over, gets them and brings them to us," says Young. "I don't bring them to other shelters. We bring them to receiving rescues that take care of the dogs, get them healthy and then put them up for adoption."

Despite his impressive track record, Young takes little credit for all those lives he has saved, saying the real angels are those who coordinate the transports and the rescues that pull the animals.

"There is no end. There is no ultimate goal, because there are always these dogs, that need to be rescued, and need to be brought to homes." 

Learn more by clicking here.  If you are interested in volunteering, email Mike Young at


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