"Empty the Shelters" pet adoption event taking place today

Free or reduced-price pet adoptions all over the country

By Dylan Dulberg - Associate Producer

Get ready to adopt a new furry friend and make a homeless pet’s dream come true, thanks to the BISSELL Pet Foundation.

'Empty The Shelters' on October 6, 2018, will be held in more than 100 locations across the country and parts of Canada!

Click here for a list of participating shelters in Michigan.


Here's what you need to know:

  • The event covers all adoption fees for cats, and covers some fees for dogs. 
  • In addition to waiving the adoption fee, you will also receive a leash, toys and treats for your animal, plus spay/neutering and vaccination guaranteed.
  • Older animals and cats are in greater need of adoption than puppies
  • 2017's event brought together more than 3,000 pets with their new families


More frequently asked questions, from BISEELL Pet Foundation:

Where are BISSELL Pet Foundation’s shelters? What animals does BPF have for adoption?
BISSELL Pet Foundation does not have a shelter or animals available for adoption. We are a funder only.

Can you help me find a specific breed of pet?
We are a small team, and unfortunately, do not have the resources to assist with individual requests. However, there are many breed-specific rescues that can be located by a Google search for “[breed] rescue, [state].” You can also work with your local humane society or animal shelter for assistance locating the type of pet you are looking for.

What breeds are available for adoption?
Almost every breed you can think of can be found for adoption!

Do I have to pay for anything during EMPTY THE SHELTERS?
You are not required to pay any adoption fee during EMPTY THE SHELTERS. However, you are responsible for paying any dog licensing fees (varies by county).

When is the next EMPTY THE SHELTERS in my state?
We are continuing to expand this event and love to receive recommendations of areas who could benefit. Please email your recommendation of city/state to info@bissellpetfoundation.org

Why do some participating locations not include puppies and kittens?
Each participating shelter chooses which pets it will have participate in Empty the Shelters; we do not limit due to age, breed, etc. Because older dogs and cats are often overlooked for puppies, many shelters choose to use this event to bring exposure to the dogs and cats that have been with them the longest – giving the older pets the chance to find their forever home.

Some locations will have puppies available, but you would need to contact them to find out. Puppies tend to go quickly though at all locations, so I would encourage you to adopt early if you are considering a specific puppy!

Why is adoption so expensive?
When you consider that the puppy you adopt from a shelter is already spayed/neutered, micro-chipped, and up-to-date on vaccines, it’s actually a really great value for the price of the adoption fee.

What is the adoption process? Where can I fill out an adoption application?
You must contact the participating shelter to complete their adoption application. You do not need to register with BISSELL Pet Foundation, just the shelter.

Where can I see what pets are available for adoption?
Please visit the website of the participating organization to view their available pets – a list of participating locations can be found at bissellpetfoundation.org/ets.

What time is the event?
Event time varies by location – visit bissellpetfoundation.org/ets to view locations & event times.

Some shelters say “pre-approval only” – what does that mean?
“Pre-approval” means you must complete an adoption application and be approved to adopt prior to EMPTY THE SHELTERS. Please contact the organization you wish to adopt from for more information.

Do I need to complete an adoption application for each location I go to?
We encourage you to apply at each shelter – each location can have a different application process, and you’ll want to make sure to fulfill those requirements so you’ll be all set for the event.

Isn’t free adoption bad?
As fellow animal lovers, we absolutely share your concern for ensuring all adopted pets find their loving, forever homes! Each participating shelter completes the same adoption process as they would any other day – the only difference is that BISSELL Pet Foundation will sponsor the adoption fees. We encourage the shelters to be as thorough as possible when completing adoptions to ensure that each pet is going into a safe home.

We have done studies on past events, and have found that more than 95% of pets adopted during Empty the Shelters are still in their homes 6-15 months later – this is an even better rate than some shelters see on a normal day! Our goal with these events is to encourage pet owners to choose adoption first and provides an opportunity for the public to visit shelters and rescues that they may not have previously.

What are rental checks and vet checks?
Rental checks are the process of confirming if your landlord will allow you to have a pet in your home. If you are a homeowner, some shelters/rescues will ask for proof of home ownership. This is to ensure that your pet will not be returned due to rental restrictions.

Vet checks are the process of confirming that your current pets are up-to-date on vaccines, and/or that you have a veterinary relationship in place to ensure that your newly adopted pet is kept happy and healthy.

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