Empty the shelters helps boost pet adoption rates

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The Arizona Animal Welfare League (AAWL) talks to Arizona Horizon about an “Empty the Shelters” event, an effort to boost adoption rates and help as many pets find their forever homes. Alessandra Navidad, President and CEO of AAWL, joined us to tell us more. She also brought two adoptable cats to the Arizona Horizon set.

Bissell Pet Foundation is hosting the “Empty the Shelters” event and will cover adoption costs for all animals adopted out who are one year and older.

As the nation’s largest funded adoption event, Empty the Shelters helps homeless pets find families by making adoption affordable for prospective pet owners. They do this by supporting participating organizations with reimbursement for each pet adopted.

Established in 2016, Empty the Shelters has helped more than 96,000 pets find their loving families at participating shelters in 47 states and Canada. 

The event runs now through July 31, 2022.

AAWL Sonia Breslow Adoption Center
25 N. 40th St.
Phoenix, AZ, 85034 (North of Washington St.) 

For more information, visit aawl.org.

The Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA (AAWL & SPCA) is the largest and oldest no-kill shelter in Arizona. A “no-kill” shelter is an animal shelter that does not kill healthy or treatable animals even when the shelter is full, reserving euthanasia for terminally ill animals or those considered dangerous to public safety. 

AAWL rescues, rehabilitates, and re-homes more than 4,000 dogs and cats that are abandoned or that have been surrendered by their owners. They do this primarily by rescuing them from other shelters in Maricopa County where they are likely to be euthanized due to the lack of time and resources to care for them. At any one time the AAWL shelter will hold 140 cats and 190 dogs. They also have a foster parent network of approximately 90 families who provide care and shelter in their homes for puppies and kittens that are too young to be adopted, and those animals that are recovering from medical procedures or that need socialization before adoption. All pets offered for adoption have been spayed or neutered; micro-chipped and are current on all vaccinations. Any medical treatments needed, including surgeries, are provided by the AAWL medical team.


The Arizona Animal Welfare League (AAWL) was founded in 1971 by a group of concerned animal lovers. This group was led by Amanda Blake, best known as “Miss Kitty” on the television program, Gunsmoke. Starting out on a small scale, concerned volunteers adopted rescued cats and dogs from foster homes. In the late 1970s, the organization built its first shelter. By the mid-1990s, the AAWL & SPCA began rescuing animals scheduled to be euthanized by the County, and, after rehabilitation, made them available for adoption to the community. Over the past 50 years, the organization has grown from adopting a handful of animals each year to a full-service animal welfare organization and leader in innovative behavior training, medical care, adoption, education, and community outreach programs. Today our shelter has an onsite veterinary clinic, kennels with a separate cattery, a training center, and a freestanding infirmary.

In 2005, the Arizona Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) merged into AAWL. The new organization was renamed the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA (AAWL & SPCA).

The AAWL tells us about the "Empty the Shelters" event, an effort to boost adoption rates and help as many pets find their forever homes.

Alessandra Navidad, President and CEO of AAWL

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