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Here are some photos from the wildly successful “Clear the Shelters” over the weekend where 45,000 animals who otherwise faced being killed were adopted in a single day, emptying shelters across the country, erasing one week’s worth of killing in the U.S., and making it the safest day for homeless animals in America ever.

The photos include empty cages:

Clear1

Celebrating staff:

Clear2

Dogs, cats, and other animals, including a little guinea pig going home:

Clear6

Clear4

Clear5

And my personal favorite, the little dog playfully biting the microphone of the news reporter trying to promote the event in New York City:

Clear3

My Facebook post on Sunday about the event was seen by over 4.5 million people, liked by over 30,000 people, shared over 25,000 times, and elicited over 1,000 comments. As one might expect at the news that 45,000 animals who faced death instead found homes, the vast majority of those people were unequivocally enthusiastic. Admittedly a few expressed concerns about “impulse” and “free” adoptions. While I understand those concerns and I am glad people brought them up, I want to put their mind at ease.

There is no evidence that animals adopted from shelters during the “Clear the Shelters” event as opposed to any other day face increased risk, especially given that the people who are motivated to adopt on a day the shelter is asking for increased public support are demonstrating evidence of caring, not nefarious intent.

Second, given that Clear the Shelters specifically appeals to municipal and traditional shelters for the reasons I discussed in an earlier Facebook post, these are animals who faced death. They no longer do.

Third, the shelters are now starting the week virtually empty, which means the animals who enter them in the coming days face a dramatically reduced risk of being killed.

Fourth, my experience as a shelter director showed these kinds of events had good outcomes, as did the experience of those who participated in the event last year, and the experiences of those that have been participating for years in the annual Just One Day event that Clear the Shelters directly modeled itself after.

Fifth, according to an article in CatWatch, the journal of the Cornell Feline Health Center:

“A study in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science examined the attachment of adopters to their cats in relation to payment or fee waiver for adoption. One hundred severty-three adopters from a rescue facility in Maine participated in the study, of which 95 paid no adoption fire for their adult cat, and 78 paid a $75 adoption fee. Whether or not an adopter paid the fee was a function of when the shelter was running promotional campaigns for adoptions by offering fee waivers…

“Statistical analysis of the result showed no significant difference in the two groups’ ‘attachment’ to their adopted cat. The authors conclude ‘implementing a free adult cat adoption program in shelters around the country could dramatically affect the lives of thousands of shelter cats who otherwise either would reside in the shelter for months awaiting adoption or be euthanized. The ultimate goal of shelters is to adopt their animals into loving homes with families who are committed to the success of their pet. The free adult cat adoption program may accomplish these goals, and shelters can feel confident in implementing the program.'”

It is not the only study to reach this conclusion.

In short, the event is worth celebrating. And we should do it again, and again, and again, and again.

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