By Lt. Richard Ochoa, AA/PIO
California State Prison, Los Angeles County
While Saturday mornings may be a day of rest and enjoyment with our families, Crystal Wood, an associate warden at CSP-Los Angeles County, saw lives that needed to be saved.
Hurricane Harvey displaced many people from their homes, including their beloved dogs. The Department of Public Safety reported 5,234 pets were rescued. AW Wood and her Karma Rescue team flew out from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas, on Sept. 2. Karma Rescue volunteers met with another group called Faith – Austin Pets Alive (APA) and received a crash course of their operations. They immediately began working.
Many animals were taken to a building that the owner willingly opened up to help AW Wood and her team. They began separating the dogs and cats, helping families adopt the dogs and cats, and began putting crates together in order to get the pets ready for transport to a safer location.
Transportation was arranged for the animals to be taken to Austin airport. An anonymous donor provided a private jet to fly the animals to the John Wayne Airport in Orange County.
Three members from Karma rescue, including AW Wood, flew to Los Angeles International Airport and then made a drive to John Wayne Airport to meet the private jet.
Around 10 p.m. the team began unloading the pets from the jet and sending them with other rescuers for a safe home. While placing all the animals in safe homes, two dogs were left with no place to go.
AW Wood, who had started one of the best dog programs in the state at California State Prison-Los Angeles County, knew she had to find every animal a safe place. CSP-LAC Warden Debbie Asuncion could not say no to AW Wood’s request.
Arrangements were made for the dogs to arrive at CSP-LAC. AW Wood arrived at CSP-LAC at 2:30 a.m. and placed them in the Paws for Life program. Watch Commander Lt Lugo was happy to help and waited for the arrival of the two new additions to the program. Since this day, inmates from the Paws for Life program have been training both dogs, named Hurricane and Harvey.