No one likes to hear about animal shelters being filled to capacity, but not everyone can do something about it in a big way. NBC Owned Television Stations and the Telemundo Station Group have jumped in by promoting Clear the Shelters, a nationwide adoption event where participating animal shelters offer Pets for adoption either free or at a reduced rate. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, July 23, 2016.

In the beginning.

Clear the Shelters originated in North Texas in 2014, and last year became a national event with the help of NBC stations.

Over 20,000 pets were adopted from 400 participating animal shelters throughout the country in 2015, and the hope is to see that number increase this year in order to help ease the burden on overcrowded shelters.

Adopting an animal requires more than money.

The adoption fee is but one initial expense to owning a pet, but it’s often the first roadblock for loving families who’d like to add a four-legged member to their home and family. The cost of food and veterinary care will be ongoing and the decision to adopt a pet shouldn’t be made lightly as it’s a lifelong commitment, but if a dedicated family wants to enjoy the benefits of living with a dog and is ready to step up and make that commitment, Clear the Shelters wants to help.

The more animals that get rescued through this event, the more shelter space will be available to allow additional animal lives to be saved. The success of this event will result in a win-win situation for allparties involved - the adoptive family financially, and animal shelters that often have to resort to euthanasia or must turn animals away due to overcrowding, and of course the pet who has been adopted.

But I want a purebred.

It’s a common misconception that only ugly mutts are available for adoption, but most shelters are filled with beautiful animals, many purebreds and beautiful mixes. You just might find the perfect dogfor you.

Ways to help, even if you can’t adopt.

Even if you can’t adopt a pet this weekend, there are other ways you can help support animal rescue and adoption.

Share the event via social media outlets, and if the shelter in your area is participating in Clear the Shelters, contact them to ask if they could use extra volunteers this weekend. Don’t stop with just this weekend, though. Most animal shelters welcome volunteer dog walkers and donations of pet food, dog toys, and other necessities required to run the organization on a day to day basis.