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66 rescues join Empty the Shelters on May 5

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

After placing nearly 10,000 pets nationally in two years, Empty the Shelters returns this week, hoping to give more pets a loving home.

This year, 66 shelters in 13 states are participating in Empty the Shelters on Saturday. The event is sponsored by the Grand Rapids nonprofit Bissell Pet Foundation, which will pay all adoption fees during the event.

Families who adopt animals will receive an AdoptBox filled with a 5-pound bag of pet food donated by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food, plus treats, toys, wellness information and coupons.

“We are a small organization doing our best to give every pet a loving home,” said Cathy Bissell, founder of Bissell Pet Foundation. “Getting animals out of shelters and into homes is critical. Empty the Shelters does just that by encouraging people to choose adoption first.”

Nationwide, 2.7 million pets are euthanized each year because they can’t find homes, according to Bissell. Currently, 23 percent of dogs and 31 percent of cats in family homes come from an animal shelter or humane society, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Through Empty the Shelters, Bissell has helped place more than 6,000 pets in Michigan since 2016.

“This event will give national attention to the importance of adoption,” Bissell said. “May 5 will be our largest Empty the Shelters event to date and we expect it to have a significant impact beyond the states participating.”

The Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit shelter in Dearborn plans to have 30 cats and 25 dogs available for adoption.

“Last Spring, the Bissell event helped us place 39 and then in the fall, we placed a whopping 77 dogs and cats into a new home,” said Elaine Greene, executive director of the Dearborn shelter. “We feel that it is much healthier (physically and mentally) for the animals to be placed as quickly as possible, so if they can find a good home before the event, away they go.”

Metro Detroit shelters participating in the event on Saturday include: the Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit and Bottle Babies in Dearborn; Michigan Humane Society in Detroit; Saving Cats & Kittens in Livonia; I Heart Dogs Rescue and Animal Heaven in Warren; Humane Society of Huron Valley in Ann Arbor; Almost Home Animal Rescue League in Southfield; Do Only Good Animal Rescue in Rochester Hills; Oakland County Animal Shelter in Pontiac; Detroit Animal Welfare Group in Macomb; and Macomb County Animal Control in Clinton Township.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_