Dogs slated for euthanasia will be made available for adoption by a rescue the weekend before Valentine's Day at Kiwanis Park in Tempe.
The Happy Valen'Tails adoption event is the Saturday and Sunday before Valentine's Day. "E-listed" dogs - those on a shelter or animal control outfit's euthanasia list - will be rescued and made available for adoption by Pound Animals Worth Saving (P.A.W.S.) and Panacea Animal Wellness Sanctuary.
"This is the largest e-listed pet adoption event in Arizona," said veterinarian Eva DeCozio-Bush, Pacacea co-founder. "Our goal is to have one weekend where not one dog is going to die."
Dogs of various breeds, ages, and sizes from around the state will be made available. They are healthy, spayed or neutered, have current vaccinations, and are micro-chipped. Adoption fees are $55 per dog.
In addition to adoptions, raffle prizes will be given away and visitors will have the opportunity to meet dog trainers, groomers, pet sitters, veterinarians, rescue and foster groups.
Both rescues hope that the event will educate people on how to help reduce the homeless animal population and show that pound animals are not sick or dangerous rejects.
"There are a lot of good dogs (at the pound)," DeCozio-Bush said.
According to the Humane Society, from 2009 to 2010, Maricopa County had the second worst pet overpopulation problem behind Los Angeles County; From 2010 to 2011, Animal Care and Control put down 44 percent of 46,998 animals taken in.
"A lot of animals are killed for reasons that are unacceptable," said P.A.W.S. spokesperson and veterinarian technician Cathy LaSusa.
Some of the animals euthanized in shelters suffer from treatable but contagious illness, fear and aggression due to overcrowding and stress, and chronic health issues that require treatment, according to both LaSusa and DeCozio-Bush.
LaSusa believes that "kill-shelters" can "perform a checklist of life-saving activities" to help reduce the number of pets being euthanized. They can solicit help from the public by accepting more volunteers and foster homes, and work more closely with rescue organizations.
To reduce the homeless pet population, Valley residents can spay, neuter, micro-chip, and adopt pets, according to DeCozio-Bush.
"Educating the public is a huge deal," she said. "Animals can't speak for themselves."
Angela Piazza, a senior studying journalism at Arizona State University, is an intern for the East Valley Tribune. Contact her at (480) 898-6514 or firstname.lastname@example.org.