A new Public Service Advertising campaign has been launched to encourage the adoption of shelter pets. The Humane Society of the United States has teamed up with Maddie’s Fund and the Ad Council to raise awareness about The Shelter Pet Project, a campaign dedicated to the importance of pet adoption from animal shelters and rescues.

Click here to listen to KMZU’s Shelby Flynn talk with President and CEO of the Humane Society of the U.S., Wayne Pacelle, and Chairman of the Maddie’s Fund Board, Amy Ziefang:


The Shelter Pet Project is a nationwide PSA that first began in 2009, and has helped been promoted by shelter pet celebrities such as Toast Meets World, Hamilton the Pug, and Keyboard Cat. The PSA was designed to show people the benefits of adopting a pet rather than obtaining them from pet stores, breeders, or by other means, focusing specifically on the special bond shared between an adopted pet and their owner.


Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, and Amy Ziefang, Chairman of the Maddie’s Fund Board, passionately advocate the campaign and its cause.

“The issue here is about 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters, many millions are adopted, but many millions are not and they’re euthanized. Both Maddie’s Fund and The Human Society of the U.S. are desperately fighting euthanasia,” Pacelle explained. “And it’s not that the shelters are doing something evil or malicious; it’s that not enough members of the community are participating in the solution. For all of the millions of people who are looking to get a dog or a cat, going to a rescue or going to a shelter rather than to a pet store that’s selling puppy mill dogs is the way to go.”

Around 6 to 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters every year, but reportedly only about half of them are adopted. It’s been estimated that 63% of dogs and 54% of cats around the U.S. are bought from pet stores, breeders, or friends while the remaining 37% and 46% of pets are adopted from shelters or rescue groups. Although euthanasia rates have fell significantly since 2009, approximately 2.4 million pets are still in need of a good home.

Those looking to adopt a dog or a cat are being directed to the Shelter Pet Project’s website, where nearby shelters, rescue groups and available pets can be found.

“We encourage everyone to visit the Shelter Pet Project’s website. We’ve got a search engine that will show pets available nationwide,” Ziefang stated. “We’d also like to encourage all of the adopters out there; share your stories, tell your friends about your experience adopting from a shelter or a rescue. People are a lot more inclined to adopt if they’ve heard their friends have adopted as well.”

Pacelle followed up Ziefang’s comments with a final message for potential adopters. “This is a battle to save the lives of these animals and we can’t be bystanders; we’ve got to participate. So share a story and adopt. That’s our message.”

For more information about pet adoption or to find shelters near you, visit www.TheShelterPetProject.org