Arizona Humane Society offering free adoptions for all pets this weekend

Aug 11, 2023, 2:15 PM

Donkey, left, and Chicken Nugget are among the pets up for adoption at the Arizona Humane Society. ...

Donkey, left, and Chicken Nugget are among the pets up for adoption at the Arizona Humane Society. The shelter is waiving adoption fees for all dogs, cats and other critters Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 12-13, 2023. (Arizona Humane Society Photos)

(Arizona Humane Society Photos)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Humane Society is looking to clear space in its overcrowded shelters by making all pet adoptions free this weekend.

With the extreme summer heat and other factors leading to an increase in intakes, the Valley shelter is aiming to find new homes for 300 animals this weekend.

“We realize that not everyone can adopt, so there’s so many different ways you can help,” Kelsey Dickerson, a spokesperson for the animal welfare group, told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “You can foster, you can volunteer, and you can donate.”

How to adopt dogs, cats for free this weekend

The Arizona Humane Society us running its free adoption special Saturday and Sunday at its two locations: the Nina Mason Pulliam South Mountain Campus at Dobbins Road and 15th Avenue in Phoenix and the PetSmart at Miller and Camelback roads in Scottsdale.

Both sites are open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Potential fur parents can see a selection of the dogs and cats and other critters available for adoption on the AHS website before heading to the shelter.

All adoptable pets are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped and are sent to their new homes with starter kits of Hill’s Science Diet food.

If it turns out an animal isn’t a good fit, it can be returned for any reason.

Heat among factors for animal shelter overcapacity crisis

AHS cared for more than 2,000 pets in July, a 15% increase of the same month in 2022.

“This is more pets than we’ve seen, really, in about a decade, and there’s definitely a lot of reasons for that,” Dickerson said. “Obviously, we’re not just experiencing overcapacity at the Arizona Humane Society or in the Valley, but this is a nationwide crisis, really, for animal shelters.”

Dickerson said the brutal summer heat is playing a role in the overcapacity crisis.

“Our cruelty investigators and emergency animal medical technicians respond to dozens of calls a day,” she said. “A lot of those are for heat-related cases. This year alone, we’ve responded to more than 1,300 heat-related cases.”

Dickerson said the reasons for the calls include animals that are left in hot cars, tethered or running loose with no water or shelter.

“There’s a lot of different things that we’ve been responding to, and these are absolutely critical cases,” she said. “As we’ve seen this week alone, we’ve had two pets die while hiking on Phoenix trails.”

What else contributes to overcrowding at Arizona Humane Society?

Dickerson said other factors are contributing to the overcrowding. One is that the cat and kitten season is elongated in the Southwest.

“That definitely always increases our numbers every summer,” she said.

Dickerson also cited economic instability and inflation, as well as medical emergencies.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in the number of owner surrenders that have come through our doors, as well, which is extremely unfortunate,” she said.

“It’s a hard decision for anyone to make, but it is exactly why the Arizona Humane Humane Society also offers resources for owned pets, to try to help mitigate this and to try to help treat the source. … That way, we can keep as many pets in their loving homes and out of our already overcrowded shelters.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Balin Overstolz-McNair contributed to this report.

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Arizona Humane Society offering free adoptions for all pets this weekend