Animal shelters across the state are facing unprecedented overcrowding. Factors such as increased length of stay for pets, slowed adoptions, staffing issues, the current housing and rental crisis, and more have created a dire situation for pets.

Rocky, a nine-years-young pup, has been in AHS’ care for 155 days (and counting) after his previous owner surrendered him in February of this year. Rocky is a super wiggly pup who loves attention, walks great on a leash and knows his basic commands but continues to be overlooked.

To help alleviate the overcrowding, BISSELL Pet Foundation is hosting its longest-ever summer national “Empty the Shelters” reduced-fee adoption event to prompt a national call for adoption. By sponsoring reduced adoption fees of $25 or less from July 11–31, the foundation aims to take thousands of deserving shelter pets from kennels to couches.

“Shelters are calling me daily and BISSELL Pet Foundation is feeling the burden of overcrowding. With the euthanasia of homeless dogs up 22 percent in just the first quarter of 2022 alone, we knew we had to act quickly to help at-risk pets,” said Cathy Bissell, founder of the foundation. “Empty the Shelters is the largest funded adoption event in the country, and by extending the event to three weeks, we can help meet the immediate need to save lives.”

The “Empty the Shelters” event has helped 96,068 pets find homes in the United States and Canada since its inception in 2016. Participating shelters in the Valley include Arizona Animal Welfare League (AAWL), Arizona Humane Society (AHS) and Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.

This year alone at AHS, more than 6,600 sick, injured and abused pets have already found their forever homes. Thanks to Bissell Pet Foundation, adoption fees for all adoptable AHS (including puppies and kittens) and all adoptable Maricopa County pets will be waived July 11–31. At AAWL, fees will be waived for all pets ages 1 year and up, July 19–31.

Not every shelter is participating for the full event, and each organization follows its own adoption procedures — contact the shelter you are interested in adopting from prior to the event to find out their specific requirements, hours and locations, view adoptable pets, etc.

To learn more about the July event or find participating shelters in other parts of the state, visit


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