Like everything else over the last year, animal shelters in North Central and around the Valley have experienced troubling times during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of animals in their centers increasing.

“We’re starting to see it a little bit,” said Michael Morefield, the communications director at the Arizona Animal Welfare League. “We have been very lucky that we’ve been working with our partners and strategically planning all of our intakes.”

AAWL is the oldest and largest no-kill shelter in Arizona. During this pandemic it has continued to allow adoptions by appointment only, provide a low-cost clinic and allow volunteers to work at its locations. However, it is not accepting new volunteers. AAWL continues to rescue as many animals as possible and allow the transportation of animals from other shelters in rural areas in Arizona that don’t have the funds to support the animals, to its own shelter in Phoenix.

“We’ll sometimes drive four and a half hours each way to get to one of our partners and rescue animals,” Morefield said.

The Arizona Humane Society’s Sunnyslope Campus also has had to change some things since the pandemic. Residents can no longer adopt out of the Sunnyslope campus but can still go on the website to set up a virtual adoption.

The Sunnyslope campus is focusing on the treatment of sick, injured and abandoned animals, according to Kelsey Dickerson, media relations specialist at the Humane Society. This campus also offers curbside services, for sick or injured animals, in order to treat animals and stay safe.

The Humane Society is a non-profit organization that appreciates any donation it receives. It will accept any pet food that is not already opened. To donate to the Humane Society visit and to adopt a pet, visit

Maryn Weeks is a student in Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.


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