Empty the Shelters, hosted by the Bissell Pet Foundation, ended with record-breaking numbers after running the nation's largest funded pet adoption event from July 11-31.
Over 28,000 shelter pets were affected as 282 shelters in 42 states participated in this summer's nationwide program, the group said.
Approximately 11,774 cats and 9,808 dogs were adopted from participating shelters and an additional 6,539 pets were also saved by Empty the Shelters and transported to newly open spaces.
Because of evictions and housing limitations, a lack of spay/neuter services, personnel shortages, and financial difficulties brought on by inflation, shelters around the country are seeing unprecedented lengths of stay and slow adoptions for pets.
“Shelters are over capacity with pets that need homes, and we can't thank Bissell Pet Foundation enough for focusing its resources where we need it most. Bissell Pet Foundation is the leader in adoption events, and for this we are grateful. Nobody has ever done what they are doing," said Dr. Steven Hansen, president and CEO of the Arizona Humane Society.
As a result of the overflow of pets in shelters across the nation, the foundation extended the event from one to three weeks to increase the number of pets who found homes through reduced adoption fees of $50 or less.
"Bissell Pet Foundation is thrilled to have set a new impact record for our Empty the Shelters event during a time when our shelter partners and their pets are struggling with longer stays and slower adoptions," said Cathy Bissell, founder of Bissell Pet Foundation. "We extended our event in direct response to the nationwide crisis. We knew we could save more lives with an additional two weeks of sponsorship, allowing more time for community members to visit their local shelters. We are overjoyed that thousands of pets are now in loving homes thanks to wonderful adopters."
Shelters all over the country shared heartwarming adoption stories during the event, said a news release, and many pets were finally chosen by loving families after months or even years with no home.
Bissell Pet Foundation encourages people to donate, so that the event can expand to more states and shelters in future years.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Empty the Shelters, Bissell Pet Foundation event sets record