‘Clear the Shelters’ success: Nexstar helps nearly 20,000 pets find forever homes

Clear the Shelters

KXAN anchor Erin Cargile poses with her rescue dog.

DALLAS (NEXSTAR) — Nexstar Media Group announced this week its NBC stations aided the adoption of more than 19,500 pets during August’s nationwide “Clear the Shelters” event.

More than 30 Nexstar stations participated in the campaign which aims to clear out shelters and find forever homes for pets in need. Nexstar stations hit a new record for 2020 besting the 2019 mark of 15,500 adoptions.

Nearly 4,000 of those adoptions took place in Tampa, Florida in coordination with WFLA. The team utilized social media to help tell stories of pets in need of homes. Based on the overall adoption number, their efforts were a smashing success.

KXAN in Austin, Texas worked with Central Texas shelters to help find 2,500 pets new homes. They hosted a month-long promotional initiative and featured stories about pet adoptions throughout their August newscasts.

Like their parent company, KXAN saw a record-setting adoption figure for 2020. KXAN Marketing Director Dax Dobbs said it felt like “people just really want to help right now.”

As you can imagine, the pet adoption process looked a little different in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. While some shelters hosted in-person adoption events, others connected pets and new owners virtually through technology.

As a way to encourage its audience to adopt a pet during the pandemic, WOOD-TV spotlighted many of their anchors and reporters with their dogs and cats as part of a promotional campaign. The effort reached more than 240,000 users on social media and helped generate nearly 800 adoptions in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Across the country, the entire NBC effort helped find new homes for nearly 140,000 pets.

Clear the Shelters is normally a single-day pet adoption drive but was expanded to a month-long initiative due to the pandemic. More than 411,000 pets have found their forever homes since 2015.

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Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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  • Towels and blankets - Shelters are often cold and animals like to have a blanket to curl up on. Towels are a big help to dry animals off after being bathed or if they come in wet. Towels can also be used to line the bottoms of cages. The towels or blankets don't have to be brand new or in perfect condition. The animals won't mind, as long as they're usable.
  • Canned and Dry Food for Cats and Dogs-Healthy - Healthy pet options for nourishment
  • Kitty litter and cat boxes - Cats go to the bathroom- a lot. Shelters are constantly using bag after bag of litter. Their supply runs out fast.
  • Puppy or kitten formula and nursing bottles - Sometimes there are situations where a young puppy or kitten who is not weaned gets separated from their mother. In these situations they need puppy or kitten formula to survive.
  • Old newspaper - When you're done with your newspapers you usually just throw them away or recycle them, right? You could help animals at no cost to you if you just save up your old newspapers. Newspapers are used in the bottoms of cages. They get soiled quickly, so they're in constant demand.
  • Collars, harnesses, and leashes - Dogs who are taken out on walks need a leash and collar or harness. The shelter loses some because adopted dogs often go home with their leash or harness.
  • Grooming supplies - Grooming supplies can include shampoo, brushes, combs, haircutting scissors, etc. Dogs and cats often come in dirty or end up getting dirty. Grooming supplies can keep them fresh, clean, and adoptable.
  • Toys - You would get bored if you had to lay in a crate alone all day, wouldn't you? Animals in shelters get bored, too. It keeps the animals from being so lonely and bored and allows them to get exercise. You could go out and buy new toys, or you could donate toys your pets or children may have not gotten much use out of. It's as simple as that.
  • Crates and carriers - Animals need to be transported somehow, and the cost of multiple crates and carriers can add up quickly. You can donate ones you stopped using that are still in good condition or you could go buy one for a decent price. This helps the shelter tremendously.
  • Paper towels and cleaning supplies - There are a lot of situations that get messy, so paper towels are a big help.
  • Hand wash and hand sanitizer - People who work at shelters need to keep their hands clean for their and the animals' health.
  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener, and bleach - Towels and blankets get soiled often so the washing machines are being used a lot
  • Dog and cat beds - this can offer the animals a soft place to lay instead of a kennel or cage floor.
  • Heating pads - Many animals come in cold or are young and need warmth. Heating pads can replace a mother's warmth.
  • Copy paper and pens, pencils, post-it notes and staples - You can't forget about all the paperwork that has to be done. Donating these items makes it so the shelter doesn't have to buy them on their own.
  • Garbage bags, mops, brooms, and sponges - The shelter uses these every day and clean up supplies can get expensive.
  • Food bowls - As new animals come in, the shelter needs new places to put food. Having an adequate supply could mean life or death for an animal in a shelter.
  • Rubber and latex gloves - A lot of messy stuff happens and gloves are necessary to lessen the spread of germs.
  • Plastic shopping bags - Plastic bags can be used to clean up dog mess and to store things in.

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