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Tito's Handmade Vodka helps rescue 300 pets from Puerto Rico

The pets were airlifted from Puerto Rico to New York and Maine aboard two cargo aircraft.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — An Austin-based distillery helped rescue hundreds of dogs over the weekend.

Animal welfare groups Wings of Rescue and The Sato Project teamed up with Tito's Handmade Vodka and its Vodka for Dog People program to airlift 300 homeless and abandoned pets from Puerto Rico to White Plains, New York, and Portland, Maine, aboard two cargo aircraft on Saturday.

The "Freedom Flights" rescued and rehabilitated a total of 165 dogs and 135 cats that faced dire conditions without intervention, according to a joint press release from the involved organizations.

The release stated that the rescued pets will be placed for adoption by receiving rescue groups and shelters. Sixty of the dogs on board already had new families waiting for them at the airport when they arrived.

All the adoptable pets were accompanied by a health certificate, meet all vaccination requirements and will be spayed or neutered before they are placed into new homes.

In addition to rescuing the 300 animals and bringing them to the U.S., Wings of Rescue delivered over 6,000 pounds of pet food upon arriving in Puerto Rico. The Sato Project distributed that food to shelters, independent rescuers and pet owners.

Major funding for the Freedom Flights was provided by Tito's, as well as other individual donors.

"Tito’s Handmade Vodka is dedicated to helping our furry friends find safety from both overcrowded shelters and potential storms in Puerto Rico," said Beth Bellanti Pander, the program manager for Vodka for Dog People. "Wings of Rescue and The Sato Project are making huge impacts in animal rescue and we’re grateful to support their missions."

According to the press release, in its early years, Tito's took in abandoned and stray dogs that wandered near its distillery. Through its Vodka for Dog People program, Tito's has rescued more than 115 distillery dogs and worked with thousands of animal-focused veterinary and transport nonprofits.

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