Texans who want to welcome a new furry friend into their home can show off their hospitality and big heart by being part of this weekend's Empty the Shelters event.
Part of a nationwide program, sponsored by the Bissell Pet Foundation, from July 10-12, the organization is working with adoption agencies across Texas to reduce fees to give cats and dogs forever homes. In some cases, the fees to take home a new fuzzy companion could be as low as $25.
Participating shelters and nonprofits include Citizens for Animal Protection and Houston Humane Society in Houston, Dallas Animal Services, and San Antonio's Animal Care Service. Participating shelters will work with interested adopters to schedule meet-and-greet appointments following local COVID-19 guidelines.
In the early days of the pandemic, pet adoptions rose nationwide as people found themselves living under stay-at-home orders. But those statistics have leveled off, leaving thousands of cats and dogs without homes. Bissell notes that foster families stepped in fill the gap, and this weekend's adoption event will also honor foster-to-adopt cases that start as fosters during the weekend of July 10-12 and are finalized up to one week after the event.
The timing for the adoption push is simple.
“More pets run away on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year,” said Cathy Bissell, founder of Bissell Pet Foundation in a press release announcing the event. “The increase in shelter intake puts pressure on our partners, who are already working with limited staff and funding due to COVID-19. The best way for us to support them is to help their pets find loving homes.”
Those interested in bringing home a pet should visit Bissell's Empty the Shelters site to find the participating organization closes to them. Bissell recommends contacting individual agencies to set up appointments and double check operating hours. All animals included in the Empty the Shelters promotion will be microchipped and spayed/neutered to prevent further pet homelessness.
Since the program began in 2016, Empty the Shelters has found homes for 37,394 pets and counting. During the COVID-19 pandemic alone, 6,231 pets were adopted during two previous Empty the Shelters events.