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February 14, 2011

Find Love at Your Local Shelter

At animal shelters and rescue groups across the country, millions of healthy, well-socialized, and thoroughly adoptable dogs and cats are perfect pets-in-waiting. They may be energetic or mellow, affectionate or hard-to-get, clever or completely transparent. They may be young or old, purebred or mixed breed, spotted or striped, big or small. But they all have one thing in common: They will almost certainly give back even more love than their new keeper will give them.

Typically, animals don’t find their way to shelters through any fault of their own. The explanation typically lies with a human failing or hardship, perhaps a failure to understand the commitment involved, an inability to understand basic animal behavior, a move to an apartment with a no-pets policy, or a lost job, divorce, or medical condition that disrupted the person’s life and caused them to shed their responsibility.

Shelter dog
Michelle Riley/ The HSUS
A dog at the Washington Animal Rescue League.

Although the number of animals being euthanized in shelters has gone down dramatically over the last few decades, there are still too many put down — about 3 million healthy and treatable dogs and cats.

To help put a stop to this entirely preventable killing, we launched the Shelter Pet Project with Maddie’s Fund and the Ad Council. This campaign raises awareness that shelters are full of wonderful pets just waiting to be a part of the family.

This Valentine’s Day, please sign our pledge to adopt your next pet from an animal shelter, and invite your friends and family to do the same. 

With thousands of shelters and rescue groups nationwide, a would-be pet owner can find the pet to match any profile. Anyone can search for adoptable pets online at theshelterpetproject.org. You can also adopt rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small animals from many shelters. 

If we convince enough people to adopt from shelters — just a modest incremental increase in the percentage of people acquiring dogs and cats — we can eliminate needless euthanasia in America. It’s no hardship for would-be pet owners. Shelter pets are the best bargain in America, and once enough people realize it, we’ll have solved one of the most vexing problems our movement has confronted through the years.

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