LaVERNIA, Texas -

A white rented van was loaded and ready to hit the road Monday morning, a 30-hour journey over 3,100 miles, with ten Labrador Retrievers, most in their own cages, except for four who are riding in back.

“Their owner was thrown in jail, so they took them and put them in the pound,” said Tracy Voss, co-founder of tracysdogs.com, who organized the transport, her largest yet thanks to valued volunteers.

Voss said when she rescued them from Animal Care Services, “I’d say less than 10 hours away from being euthanized.”

Yet now, Voss said they, along with three others from ACS, a retriever from a shelter in Goliad and another surrendered by its owner, are on their way to Labradors and Friends in Southern California.

"It’s a wonderful foster-based rescue in San Diego where they’re going to be adopted,” Voss said.

She said transports like hers are necessary if San Antonio wants to reach no-kill status.

“Other parts of the country have a demand for these dogs. We don’t here,” Voss said.

Looking at the dogs on board, she said, “They wanted to euthanize every dog that’s in this van.”

Instead of renting a van, Voss said if her group had its own transportation, she would be sending even more dogs to other cities that do not have San Antonio’s over-population of homeless pets.

Scott Whyatt, her partner and co-founder of tracysdogs.com, said the need became obvious given the response to the website that showcases dogs that are about to be euthanized.

“When they found out we were doing this run to San Diego, we have been bombarded with calls,” Voss said.

She said some dogs from shelters in South Texas and along the Texas border will make the next trip once they clear the quarantine period. Voss also said she plans to make several trips in March to take “cold weather dogs” to states like Colorado.  

Whyatt, who is driving to San Diego along with Paul Battaglia, said he and Voss want to create a transport system “to get many more dogs out of San Antonio to places where people really want the dogs.”

Already in sunny San Diego is Scout, a stray dog that Voss found in the middle of a street that she had transported over the holidays.

She said, “He’s now living in a million dollar home with a nanny and his own private doggie door.”

Before Scout was adopted, Voss said the San Diego shelter had 53 adoption applications for him.

She said, “We wouldn’t get 53 applications in San Antonio in a whole year!”