“Clear the Shelters” 2019 in NC

About Clear the Shelter

This event originally started in Texas under the name “Empty the Shelters” where euthanasia rates are some of the highest in the United States. According to a study, 144,000 animals were killed in the state of Texas in 2018 alone.

Image of empty kennels by Dr. Federico at Wake County Animal Center

The “Clear the Shelters” event was started in 2015 as a nationwide adoption drive that occurs on annually, typically mid-August.

“Clear the Shelters is a nationwide pet adoption drive on Saturday, August 17 to help find loving homes for animals in need. More than 250,000 pets found their forever homes since 2015. “


Clear the Shelter in North Carolina

Many shelters and rescues participated this year in North Carolina, but some of the local participants are listed below. Those highlighted in bold were successfully able to place all adoptable dogs on August 17, 2019.

  • Rescue Rangers (Fuquay Varina, NC)
  • The SPCA of Wake County (Raleigh, NC)
  • Wake County Animal Center (Raleigh, NC)
  • Safe Haven for Cats of Raleigh (Raleigh, NC)
  • Animal Protection Society of Durham (Durham, NC)
  • Orange County Animal Services of Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC)
  • Franklin County Animal Shelter (Louisburg, NC)
  • Vance County Animal Shelter (Henderson, NC)
  • Johnston County Animal Services (Smithfield, NC)
  • Wayne County Animal Adoption & Education Center (Goldsboro, NC)
  • Paws4Ever (Mebane, NC)
  • Cumberland County Animal Control (Fayetteville, NC)

Mixed Opinions

There are mixed opinions of rescues, shelters, volunteers, and the general public about that long term success of this annual event. As an intake coordinator with a local rescue, I have mixed feelings as well. I cannot speak for other shelters, but I do know that Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) goes above and beyond every year to ensure the right animals are being matched with the right homes. It is not necessarily a “first come, first serve basis” adoption process. Adoption counselors were easily accessible throughout the building, so both WCAC and Friends of Wake County Animal Center tried to ensure responsible adopting. They even offered a $5 training class to learn about how to best match animals with potential adopters weeks before Clear The Shelter, in preparation for the event.

On one hand, I’m concerned about the “hype” surrounding the event and the social pressure to adopt an animal after standing in long lines for hours. Because the adoption fee is either waived or lowered, I also worry about dogs going to people that either cannot afford a dog long term, or may not have the best intentions in mind – life on a chain, a guard dog with little to no human contact, or a suitable “game” dog for fighting purposes.

However, on the other hand, it’s a chance for animals to have a change of pace. For example, some of the dogs in the shelters are “long timers” and get to experience a car ride, a soft bed, and love, even if it’s only for a short time. This day is also a win for the shelter staff and volunteers. They have to deal with the emotional burden of dealing with life and death decisions everyday. Let them have one lighthearted day in an otherwise endless sea of unwanted and displaced animals.

No matter your opinion, the statistics are in for 2019. Exactly one week ago, over 1,400 animals found loving homes in North Carolina during the Clear the Shelters event on August 17, 2019.

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