The Clear the Shelters adoption event is coming up on July 23, 2016. Last year, in its first year as a nationwide event, almost 20,000 animals were adopted out. Adoption fees were waived. This event has the potential to develop into a major step forward for No Kill.
Clear the Shelters is a project of NBC and Telemundo television stations. It appears to have a somewhat loose organizational structure at this time, with local television affiliates offering publicity for shelters that sign up. Last year roughly 400 shelters participated. Support for the event appears to be coming from a variety of organizations depending on the location.
The beauty of this arrangement is that it is enlisting traditional shelters as well as No Kill shelters. This makes sense since the event offers free publicity, and most traditional shelters are accustomed to looking to local media for publicity. The event can be a way for shelters that have been reluctant to participate in discounted adoption events to take the plunge.
Another huge benefit of this event is that volunteers are being drafted to be adoption counselors for a day. This gives volunteers at these shelters something to do beyond walking dogs and socializing cats, and gets them involved in shelter marketing. When volunteers see the effects of adoption specials, they will be motivated to try new methods of marketing.
And not to be ignored is the importance of the timing. July is one of the highest intake months for shelters, if not the highest, due to kitten season and an increase in stray intake. The Clear the Shelters event can be carried on for more than one day in cities that are having particularly high summer intake. Dallas Animal Services, for example, is carrying on the event for the entire month of July.
The event started in 2014 in northern Texas as the brainchild of Corey Price, director of the City of Irving animal shelter. Irving is a city of about 230,000 people and is part of the Dallas metro area. That first year, in 2014, the event was known as “Empty the Shelters,” and 33 shelters in northern Texas participated.
A map of participating shelters for 2016 shows that so far participation has been primarily in northern Texas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, northern Georgia, North and South Carolina, central Ohio, Chicago, Minneapolis, Buffalo, Miami, and the northeast corridor. But there is no reason that the event could not spread to virtually any community with a local television station, which is virtually all communities.
Kudos to Corey Price for her great idea of using local television stations to serve as a focal point for recruiting shelters and promoting the event. This event, with its synergy between shelters and local media, could eventually rival Home 4 the Holidays in the number of lives saved.