The Arizona Humane Society in crisis

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The Arizona Humane Society (AHS) is seeing its highest volume in more than a decade. AHS is on pace to intake 20,000 sick, injured and abused animals in 2023. Kelsey Dickerson, Spokesperson for AHS, and AHS Foster Manager Carrie Hughes discussed what this means as well as the nationwide animal shelter crisis.

What are some reasons why this is happening?

“First and foremost, it’s a really busy season. We have the extreme temperatures out there so our field team is working 365 days a year to be able to bring in these animals. When you have an animal that has no water, no shelter, maybe locked in a hot car, you know, something that in the winter maybe it’s not as deadly as quickly, it’s something that is definitely an emergency,” Dickerson said.

This year alone, AHS has responded to more than 1,300 calls related to pets in heat distress. There are also more animal owner surrenders.

“Our community is struggling out there,” Dickerson said.

The top two reasons for people needing to surrender their animals is the cost of care and housing instability, according to Dickerson.

Fostering animals

Fostering is one of the key components allowing AHS to take in more pets, Hughes said. When a person chooses an animal to foster, that kennel is opened up for another animal in need.

“We’re able to serve many more animals that way. As Kelsey said, the need in the community is so great, so we truly rely on the community to step forward and help us with this issue,” Hughes said.

“Foster Heroes” is an AHS program providing medical care, supplies and guidance to people fostering an animal, ensuring they have a positive experience.

There is always a need for foster families.

“Fostering is critical to being able to serve these homeless and injured, abused pets,” Hughes said.

Cases range from as short as one week to an extended period of time. More information can be found at

Kelsey Dickerson, Spokesperson for Arizona Humane Society; Carrie Hughes, Arizona Humane Society Foster Manager

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