Each year, some 6.5 million dogs and cats—equal numbers of each—enter animal shelters across the country, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates. About 1.5 million are euthanized. Both numbers are declining (in 2011, about 2.6 million dogs and cats were put down). The decline is partly attributed to increased adoption rates, ASPCA says.
“While the numbers of animals being euthanized have dramatically gone down, we are still killing way too many,” said Bari Mears, president and founder of the Phoenix Animal Care Coalition (aka PACC911), which organizes an annual pet adoption event in Anthem.
Rescue animals “are not damaged goods, but rather are the victims of our throwaway society,” Mears told In&Out. “These animals are frightened and confused as they languish in what are often ‘kill’ shelters,” though many Valley shelters have no-kill policies. “They are hoping for a second chance at life.”
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There are, of course, reputable dog breeders, Mears said, but there are also backyard breeders who “breed to make money and contribute to animal overpopulation with little regard for the breed.” Puppy mills that sell to pet stores are the worst, she said.
Last year’s adoptathon led to 80 adoptions, and the goal this year is 100. The pets (including rats and guinea pigs) will have been spayed, neutered and immunized. Organizers invite attendees to bring dog food to donate to a pet food bank, and humans will find food vendors at the event.
“As long as there are full shelters and full rescues, we urge the public to give these beautiful animals that second chance to be loved,” Mears said.
10 a.m.–3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 3
Anthem Community Park
41703 N. Gavilan Peak Parkway
Dozens of Adoption Groups
About 60 organizations are expected to attend. Some focus on specific breeds, others are generalists. Here’s a sampling:
ABC Animals Benefit Club (dogs & cats)
Amazing Aussies (Australian shepherds)
Any Rat Rescue (rats)
Arizona Golden Rescue (golden retrievers)
Arizona Saint Bernard Rescue
Arizona Boston Terrier Rescue
Arizona Sheltie Rescue (Shetland sheepdogs)
Arizona Weimaraner Rescue
AZ Border Collie Rescue
AZ Prussian Snailhound Dog Rescue
Aussie Friends (Australian shepherds)
Big Bully Rescue (bulldogs, pitbull terriers)
Boxer Luv Rescue
Brittany Rescue AZ (Brittanys & mixes)
Dane Haven (great Danes)
Desert Harbor Doberman Rescue
Desert Labrador Retriever Rescue
Four Peaks Animal Rescue (dogs & cats)
Ghost Town Dog Rescue (all breeds)
Heeling Heelers Hearts (herding dogs)
Piggie Poo Rescue (guinea pigs)
Saving Paws (German shepherds & Belgian Malinois)
Southwest Collie Rescue
Valley of the Sun Giant Schnauzer Rescue