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“Empty the Shelter” to Support Pet Adoption

Chicago is reducing its animal adoption fees in an “Empty the Shelter” event.

Animal shelters are set to hold huge adoption events across the Chicago area on December 13 and 14, with almost 120 shelters across 22 states also reducing their fees.

Customers who’d like a furry friend to take to see Chicago’s Christmas tree are advised to act fast, however, as they will need to be pre-approved in time for adoption day.

Participating Chicago-area shelters include St Clair County Animal Adoption Center, Winnebago County Animal Services, Quincy Humane Society, Heartland Animal Shelter, Orphans of the Storm and One Tail at a Time.

The event, sponsored by nonprofit organization Bissel Pet Foundation, aims to ‘bring holiday hope to homeless pets. Its website states,  “At over 100 locations across the U.S., BISSELL Pet Foundation will aim to bring holiday hope to homeless pets by offering reduced fee adoptions on December 13th and 14th. It’s never too late to adopt a pet and save a life!”

Bissell was founded in 2011 and has now awarded millions of dollars to its partner network in the hope of saving animals’ lives across the US and Canada

Shelters will still operate the same approval processes to ensure pets are going to families who are willing to take on a lifetime commitment.

Cathy Bissell, the organization’s founder, said in a news release, “To permanently end the homeless pet problem, everyone across the country needs to understand that there are beautiful, worthy animals in shelters who should be the first choice when bringing a pet into your home.”

“You will get the most loving pet who will literally change your life because it’s so grateful to be loved. I want every person to know they can be part of the solution if they adopt a shelter pet.”

Almost 27,000 pets have been adopted since the foundation’s first Empty the Shelters event back in 2016.

The last event on October 12, 2019, saw 3,585 pets adopted. The foundation claims that for every animal adopted, two lives are saved – the pet who is adopted and the one who takes their place in the shelter.

Adopters paid just $25 in October to adopt a pet that was microchipped, fully vaccinated and neutered, while BPF sponsored the remaining fees. The Holiday Hope event in December 2018 gave 2,076 pets the chance of a new life in a welcoming home.

The pet foundation also supports a number of programs and initiatives which tackle the pet overpopulation crisis across the US. By providing funding for adoption, neutering, microchipping and foster care, the foundations aim to reduce the number of furry friends in rescue centers.

As Christmas gets fully underway with the opening of the Elf’d Up bar, now’s the time to act if you’d like a lifelong friend this Christmas.

It is important to remember that pets are not just for Christmas, and many shelters plan to shut down over the festive period to avoid the wrongful adoption of animals.

Online searches of the phrase “buy a puppy” increased by 44% from 95,659  to 137,499 the week before Christmas in 2018, with thousands of calls to rescue centers made by mid-January from owners wanting to give up their dog.

Shelters are now reminding prospective owners that pets don’t come with a gift receipt, and the decision to buy and care for a pet should not be taken lightly. It should also be taken into account that many shelter dogs need more attention than usual, or need a quieter and less disruptive life while they get used to their new home.


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