Cats, dogs, rabbits and other animals, young and old, are waiting to be adopted into forever homes in the Bay Area on Saturday as a part of NBC Bay Area's #ClearTheShelters adoption initiative.
Holly, a sweet canine who was born on the streets of Puerto Rico, was sent to Miami to be adopted but due to the devastating Hurricane Irma, she had to move again. She was flown to Berkeley where she would eventually meet a couple who took her into their home.
"If I can give a shelter animal a good home, whether they're traumatized or not, I'm doing what I should be doing," said Holly's new family, Erik Hesse, a UC Berkeley professor.
Another dog that was in Berkeley Saturday came from Redding after the area was devastated by the Carr Fire. Maya was adopted at the Berkeley Humane Society along with more than 1,100 other animals all over the Bay Area.
Clear the Shelters, the fourth annual pet adoption drive sponsored by the NBC- and Telemundo-owned television stations, culminates today with more than 1,200 shelters participating in dozens of communities across the country.
Maya is one of a dozen dogs @berkeleyhumane rescued and took in from the #CarrFires in Redding. She’s sweet and gentle and is looking for a forever home! #ClearTheShelters pic.twitter.com/8VSI8grqEm— Riya (@loislane28) August 18, 2018
Since this year’s event was launched on July 28, more than 42,000 pets have already been taken. To encourage families to find a new pet, whether puppies, older cats, rabbits or iguanas, many of the participating animal shelters and rescue organizations are reducing or waiving adoption fees.
The need remains great. The number of animals entering shelters each year is about 6.5 million, 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Though the number has declined from about 7.2 million in 2011, with the biggest drop in the number dogs, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year.
On the happier side, about 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted annually and another 710,000 are returned to their owners.
Clear the Shelters began in North Texas in 2014 as a partnership among the NBC and Telemundo stations in Dallas-Fort Worth and dozens of North Texas animal shelters. More than 2,200 homeless animals were adopted that first year, the most in a single day in North Texas.
A year later that number jumped to nearly 20,000 as the adoption drive went national, with more than 400 shelters taking part across the country. Last year, as the event was extended over a month, more than 80,000 pets were adopted from over 900 shelters.
So far this year, 76, 348 pets have been adopted nationwide bringing the total number of animals that have been adopted since the campaign began in 2015 to 229,982.