Thursday, December 25, 2008

Stranded Military Family and Pets Find Refuge in Snowstorm

With record snowstorms, twins on the way, and a dog and cat in tow, it seemed like the Pardun family, from an upstate NY military base would never get home to Portland, Oregon, But with a little luck—and a lot of help—they made their way back home for the holiday.

On Christmas eve, Private Blaine Pardun, a military officer who is heading for Iraq, was stranded at JFK with his pregnant wife Katie, who is expecting twins, Rex, a five-month old German Shepherd, and Mr. Jegger, a year-and-a-half-old Siamese mix cat. The Parduns had already made the seven-hour drive from their home on the Fort Drum military base in New York to catch a flight to Portland in time for Christmas.

The family reached out to out to Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden’s office for help. Patrick Kwan, New York Director for the Humane Society of the United States said Senator Wyden’s office secured temporary housing options for the Pardun family, but the facilities cannot accept pets. Though the JFK Airport has a pet boarding facility, the cost—$50 per night, per animal for the family’s dog and cat—was outside the family’s reach.

The HSUS arranged for the family - including their pets - to stay at the Howard Johnson hotel near JFK. On Christmas Day, Kwan drove out to the airport to see them off.

Kwan said the family made the crazy trip with their animals so Katie to be with her family when she delivers her twins.

Many stranded pets never make it on the plane. “Sadly, many travelers abandon their pets at the JFK Airport,” said Kwan, who has been campaigning for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates JFK Airport, to address the issue, including the plight of the feral cats at the airport.

“Some of the pet owners are plainly irresponsible, but there are also those, like the Pardun family, who feel like they have no other choice.”

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