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Florida Keys man flies 3,000th rescue animal from high-kill shelter to safety

In this Dec. 10, 2014 photo, Jeff Bennett arrives with his 3,000th rescue animal to safety in Tampa, Fla. Bennett flew to the Florida Panhandle and picked up a French bulldog named Reggie, along with several other animals, from shelters and foster homes in Alabama.  Bennett has been flying animals from overcrowded shelters to foster homes and vacant shelters for six years. (AP Photo/ Tamara Lush)

In this Dec. 10, 2014 photo, Jeff Bennett arrives with his 3,000th rescue animal to safety in Tampa, Fla. Bennett flew to the Florida Panhandle and picked up a French bulldog named Reggie, along with several other animals, from shelters and foster homes in Alabama. Bennett has been flying animals from overcrowded shelters to foster homes and vacant shelters for six years. (AP Photo/ Tamara Lush)  (The Associated Press)

A Florida Keys man recently flew his 3,000th rescue animal to a better life.

Retired businessman Jeff Bennett volunteers with Pilots and Paws. The South Carolina-based charity enlists small plane pilots to transport animals from overcrowded shelters that have high euthanasia rates to foster homes, rescue groups and less-crowded shelters that don't kill the animals.

On a recent day, Bennett picked up his milestone — a black and white French Bulldog named Reggie from a shelter in Alabama. The dog was surrendered by his owners and is headed for new owners in South Florida.

Bennett estimates that he's flown about 1,100 hours in his small, four-seat Cirrus aircraft since starting his volunteer work with the group six years ago.