Here’s How Arizona Animal Welfare League Houses Over 400 Animals and Maintains a ‘No-Kill’ Status

Photo by Robert Gundran

By Robert Gundran

September 15, 2023

AAWL works with partner shelters across the Southwest to bring in animals that may be at risk of euthanasia due to overcrowding.

Almost 66% of US households have a pet. Studies have shown having an animal at home lower stress levels in humans. Our relationship is symbiotic.

Arizona Animal Welfare League, a nonprofit founded in 1971,  is on a mission to pair animals with Arizonans to help people and pets alike.

Kimberly Vermillion, director of communications for AAWL, said the shelter does not take any state or government funding and relies strictly on the support of the community.

By the mid-90s, AAWL started rescuing animals from county shelters scheduled for euthanasia.

Photo by Robert Gundran

AAWL is Arizona’s largest and oldest “no-kill” shelter. A “no-kill” shelter does not kill healthy or treatable animals, even when the shelter is full. Euthanasia is still performed on some animals, but only if they are terminally ill or considered dangerous to public safety.

Vermillion said the shelter had just under 400 animals in the shelter as of late August between their adoption locations in Phoenix and at Chandler Fashion Center.

Partnerships Free Up Other Shelters

AAWL works with partner shelters across the Southwest to bring in animals that may be at risk of euthanasia due to overcrowding. Bringing in those cats and dogs frees up space at smaller shelters and saves lives.

Vermillion said they’re able to bring in these animals based on their capacity. AAWL is able to house 140 cats and 190 dogs in their two adoption locations. They also work with a foster parent network to house puppies and kittens too young to be adopted, animals that are recovering after medical procedures, and animals that need socialization before adoption.

“Fostering is a great way to get involved if you’re considering adding a new pet to your home, but not sure if you’re ready,” Vermillion said.

The shelter claims it saved close to 2,000 animals who were at risk of euthanasia at other shelters, but weren’t ready to be put up for adoption. That’s where fostering comes in. If you’re interested in checking out what fostering entails, check out their website here.

If you’re interested in looking at what kind of pets are available, don’t hesitate to drop in at either of their locations.

“We’re open six days a week and don’t require an appointment,” Vermillion said. “You can come right in and meet an adoption counselor.”

Photo by Robert Gundran

Adoption prices are based on the pet’s age and breed, typically.

Included in the adoption price are getting the pet spayed or neutered, micro-chipped, and all needed vaccinations. Any medical treatments needed, including surgeries, are also provided by AAWL’s medical team. They also offer behavioral services for adopted pets.

More Adoptions = More Saved Animals

Vermillion said AAWL has over 400 active volunteers.

“From walking the dogs or interacting with our cats, there’s so many ways to get involved,” she said. “We rely heavily on our volunteers to do the work we do and we greatly appreciate them.”

By adopting from or donating to the AAWL, you might not only be finding your new best friend, but you’re also likely freeing up space for the shelter to house a new cat or dog who might have been at risk of being euthanized at another shelter.

Photo by Robert Gundran

“If we’re truly going to reduce the number of healthy and treatable animals that are euthanized each year in shelters across Arizona, we must do more,” AAWL CEO Alessandre Navidad said in her yearly impact report. “The animal welfare needs of the pets and people throughout the state far outweighs our capacity to help address them.”

Check out AAWL’s adoptable cats here, dogs here, or head here if you’re interested in volunteering and hanging out with some furry friends.

READ MORE: Phoenix Domestic Violence Shelter Now Allows Survivors to Bring Pets


  • Robert Gundran

    Robert Gundran grew up in the Southwest, spending equal time in the Valley and Southern California throughout his life. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in 2018 and wrote for The Arizona Republic and The Orange County Register.

CATEGORIES: Uncategorized


AZ Tucson Food Voting image

Local News

Related Stories
Share This