Bay Area shelters holding free animal adoptions


"This is going to generate loving homes for 5,000 dogs and cats," Rich Avanzino said.

Avanzino is the president of runs Maddie's Fund, that was created by the founders of software giant PeopleSoft in honor of their little dog Maddie.

"Maddie's Fund is investing in creating a no-kill nation, we think we can guarantee all the dogs and cats of America a loving home by 2015," he said.

And to do it, they're making adopting a dog or cat free for one weekend and paying shelters a reward for each animal adopted.

It's happening across five states, including four different events in the Bay Area. In all, they'll donate $4 million to connect people with pets.

"What we want to do is let people know that there are lots and lots of wonderful, healthy, friendly, adoptable animals in shelters," said San Francisco SPCA Co-President Jennifer Scarlett.

SF's SPCA has done it before, and says there's no downside to free adoptions and that it doesn't make the animals any more likely to wind up back at the shelter.

The Maddie's event isn't just free, it's also outdoors. They'll take over this entire street here behind the shelter. And for folks who are on the fence about adopting that dog, that could make all the difference.

Sandra Luna knew that Roman here was anything but a lap dog. He's part pit bull, part retriever. But after seeing him out on the street at last year's event, she realized he was all teddy bear.

"I just saw that he was very gentle and friendly with kids and adults," Luna said.

At this shelter alone, they're hoping the weekend brings 200 more stories like Sandra's.

They hope you'll come for the beer, barbecue, and live music. And maybe stay to make a new furry friend.

"We're on our way to creating a no-kill nation and this is gonna be a huge part of that," Scarlett said.

To find a participating animal shelter near you, click here.

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