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Human Society offers free large dog adoption as Maricopa County shelters are over capacity

The Maricopa County Animal Care and Control is currently holding about 850 dogs at its two shelters, which is 200 over capacity.

While that is common over the summer months, it’s unusual for this time of year as adoptions have slowed in recent weeks. 

Kim Powell with the shelter says this is a problem nationwide.

"It’s not just here, but you know a lot of people already have their dogs or maybe they’re just experiencing financial lows. The economy is not where a lot of people want it. The housing market is also causing some problems," said Powell. 

Powell says they have had to put dogs into smaller kennel spaces in order to accommodate the surplus.

Free adoptions for large dogs this weekend

Bigger dogs at certain Arizona Humane Society locations are free to adopt until Sunday, Jan. 14.

The Humane Society says room for dogs 50 pounds or heavier is “critically low.” And they’re facing a backlog of appointments, with owners mostly looking to surrender large breeds.

Jennifer Armbruster with the Humane Society said that while big dogs bring big love into homes, caring for them can also be a sizable undertaking.

“It is true that the economy and housing are at play here,” said Armbruster. “So if you think about someone who might be struggling to pay rent and they’re having to find some new housing, there are weight restrictions. There are sometimes breed restrictions about what kind of dog you can bring with you.”

Armbruster said she hopes people will lean on Humane Society resources, and that community solutions can be developed to keep people and their pets together.

All AHS pets are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.

Find dogs available for adoption through AHS

  • www.azhumane.org/adopt
  • Arizona Humane Society South Mountain Campus, 1521 W. Dobbins Rd., Phoenix.
  • PetSmart Scottsdale locations

Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.