First-Ever California Adopt-a-Pet Day Finds Homes for 3,609 Pets, Nearly Doubles Goal

After resounding success, the statewide adoption event will return to California in June 2025
June 18, 2024

Sacramento, Calif.– Today, California Animal Welfare Association (CalAnimals), the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SF SPCA) and the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) announce the results of the first-ever California Adopt-a-Pet Day, with 3,609 pets adopted into loving homes on June 1. The day-long event included more than 170 animal welfare organizations across the state working collaboratively to nearly double the original goal of finding homes for 2,024 pets. The ASPCA provided funds to cover the cost of the adoptions at participating shelters so that they were free to the public.

Of the 3,609 total pets adopted on California Adopt-a-Pet Day, there were 1,977 cats, 1,541 dogs, and 91 others, including rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small animals. One of the pets matched with a loving family was a dog named Nelly, a 3.5-year-old mastiff mix, who had been in the care of Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) for 1.5 years after originally arriving at the shelter as a stray. Described by shelter staff as being sweet and shy, Nelly was finally matched with an adopter on California Adopt-a-Pet Day after San Ramon resident, Sahiba Singh, traveled 40 minutes to meet Nelly after seeing her on the shelter’s social media. Within a couple of minutes of meeting, Nelly, who normally takes a long time to warm up to strangers, was sitting on Sahiba’s feet. Nelly, now nicknamed Nelly Bean, was quickly adopted by Sahiba and is happily settling in to her new home.

“Her little lopsided face is perfect. She jumped out at me immediately. I read that she was shy and needed a quiet home. We have that. I had to meet her,” said Singh. “She’s so happy here, and we love her so much. We’re going to give her a lifetime of reasons to wag.”

“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude by the number of Californians that visited their local shelter on June 1st, and am thrilled to find that for many, this was their very first time adopting a shelter pet,” said Jill Tucker, CEO of CalAnimals. “Our shelters are overcrowded with a variety of wonderful animals just waiting for people to come and meet them, and it is our greatest hope that members of the public will visit shelters first when they are ready for a new pet. I want to thank all the shelters for participating in this wonderful event to promote adoptions and extend my sincere gratitude to the ASPCA and San Francisco SPCA for making this event possible. We have illustrated that by working together, we can truly make a difference.”

“On June 1, we saw just how important our animal shelters are to the people of California,” said Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, CEO of the SF SPCA. “They heard our call to action and responded in kind. As a result of this event, thousands of households are now enriched by having a special pet in their lives, and our shelters received the support and attention they deserve.”

“The success of California Adopt-a-Pet Day underscores the tremendous appeal of shelter animals and the unique power of the human-animal bond. It also is an inspiring message to shelters, pet owners, and the animal welfare community that when we come together, we can make change for animals in need,” said Matt Bershadker, President & CEO, ASPCA. “Knowing that 3,609 shelter animals found homes in a single day when national and local animal welfare groups work together is proof that collaboration is key to saving more lives not only in California but across the country.”

In recent years, California shelters have faced a large influx of animals as the result of ongoing challenges facing pet owners, including economic hardships, the difficulties of accessing pet-friendly housing and the lack of affordable veterinary care due to the shortage of veterinarians. These challenges often force families to have to make the difficult choice to part with their pets and have prevented many families from adopting new pets. California has one of the highest rates of renters in the country, and housing is one of the largest barriers for families being able to keep or adopt a pet.

California Adopt-a-Pet Day was managed by CalAnimals, which focuses on the success of California animal welfare and sheltering organizations in meeting the needs of animals and people in their communities. The initiative was generously supported by the SF SPCA, a nonprofit that works in San Francisco, the Central Valley, and across California to ensure that every companion animal has access to quality medical care, compassionate shelter, and a loving home, and the ASPCA, the longest-standing animal welfare organization in North America that works on the frontlines across the country to save, transform, and protect the lives of millions of dogs, cats, equines, and farm animals in the fight against animal cruelty and homelessness.

The next annual California Adopt-a-Pet Day will take place in June 2025. For those interested in adopting or fostering an animal, visit to learn more.


About the California Animal Welfare Association
The California Animal Welfare Association ("CalAnimals") formed in 2018 through a merger between California's two statewide animal-welfare associations: California Animal Control Directors Association (CACDA) and State Humane Association of California (SHAC). The organization exists to support the success of animal welfare and sheltering organizations in meeting the needs of animals and people in their communities. Programs and activities include trainings, conferences, certifications, disaster response, leadership development, legislative advocacy and more. Interested in learning more about the California Animal Welfare Association? Visit


About the San Francisco SPCA
The San Francisco SPCA is an independent, community-supported, nonprofit animal welfare organization dedicated to saving, protecting, and providing immediate care for cats and dogs who are homeless, ill, or in need of an advocate. The SF SPCA also works long-term to educate the community, reduce the number of unwanted kittens and puppies through spaying and neutering, and improve the quality of life for animals and their human companions. The organization does not receive government funding.

For more information, visit