PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
April 18, 2023

Judith M. Persichilli

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

New Jersey Department of Health Invites Animal Shelters throughout NJ to Host Adoption Events for Adopt a Shelter Pet Day to Help Pets Find Forever Homes

Department Highlights Health Benefits of Pet Ownership

TRENTON – In recognition of National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day on April 30, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is organizing an Adopt a Shelter Pet Day initiative in New Jersey and encouraging licensed animal shelters and pounds across the state to participate by holding events to help pets in their care find their new home. All participating shelters will waive adoption fees during these events.

“New Jersey Adopt a Shelter Pet Day is a great reminder to residents that many loving animals of all ages are available at their local shelters and pounds and in need of a good home,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “There are many health benefits of pet ownership, including regular exercise, and pets also provide companionship.”

NJDOH’s goal in organizing an Adopt a Shelter Pet Day initiative in our state aims to help reduce capacity at many of these facilities and to help find forever families for more animals. Some New Jersey shelters and pounds are currently at or above capacity, which limits the space available for other animals in need and increases the burden of care on the animal facilities. 

“Animal shelters in New Jersey provide important public health services to the animals and people of New Jersey every day by caring for stray and surrendered animals.” said Darby McDermott, DVM, MPH, the NJ State Public Health Veterinarian, NJDOH. “There are many dogs and cats of all sizes and ages in New Jersey shelters to meet the unique needs of families. Contact your local animal shelter to find the perfect fit for your family, or to explore foster and volunteer opportunities that may be available at the shelter.”

National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day helps to raise awareness of the millions of pets in shelters nationwide. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), approximately 6.3 million animals enter shelters each year – 3.1 million dogs and 3.2 million cats. Of these, approximately 4.1 million animals are adopted annually.

Studies have shown that the bond between people and pets is linked to several health benefits, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), such as improved heart health, decreased stress, loneliness and anxiety, as well as increased opportunities for exercise and being outdoors.

A list of participating New Jersey shelters can be found here, which will continue to be updated. Events are taking place April 28-30. Individuals should check with local shelters and pounds in their area for other adoption options.

Last Reviewed: 4/18/2023