NBCU'S Nationwide Pet Adoption Drive – Clear The Shelters – Helped Nearly 20,000 Pets Find Permanent And Loving New Homes

Post-Adoption Drive Special, Hosted by Natalie Morales, News Anchor and Co-Host of NBC News’ TODAY Show, Will Air on NBC Stations on August 22

The Clear the Shelters initiative, the first-of-its-kind pet adoption effort spearheaded by NBC and Telemundo local television stations across the country in partnership with over 400 animal shelters, resulted in permanent and loving new homes for nearly 20,000 animals, the NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations division of NBCUniversal announced today. The national day of action, which took place this past Saturday, August 15, was so successful that next year's Clear the Shelters date has already been set for Saturday, July 23, 2016.

"I am so happy with the huge success of Clear the Shelters. Our NBC and Telemundo stations, and our 400 partnering animal shelters across the country, with the help of the ASPCA and our friends at Overstock.com, found almost 20,000 thousand animals homes. We are grateful to everyone who opened their homes and added to their families on this national day of action," said Valari Staab, President, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations. "Clear the Shelters is an example of how, together, we can save animal lives and make a difference in our communities."

The Clear the Shelters initiative, which literally emptied dozens of animal shelters across the country, was spearheaded by the 29 NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations (11 NBC-owned stations, 17 Telemundo-owned stations and the regional news network necn) and more than 400 animal shelters across the country, with a goal of finding new homes for thousands of homeless pets. While the vast majority of the nearly 20,000 animals adopted on Clear the Shelters day were cats and dogs, other pets like rabbits, hamsters, hedgehogs, turtles, ferrets, monkeys, donkeys, lizards, cows and pigs also found new homes.

At the Humane Society of Calvert County in Maryland, a pot-bellied pig named "Channing Tatum" was adopted as part of Clear the Shelters, as was "Linda," a 12-year-old poodle mix, who had spent six years at the Upper Keys Humane Society in South Florida. At the SPCA of Texas in Dallas, Powder, a five-year-old boxer who had lived a life of abuse and had been used for breeding was finally adopted by a family from Mesquite, after being passed over numerous times. In Oyster Bay, New York a two-month-old kitten named "June" was adopted and taken home early in the day, while a family from Indiana was reunited with their pitbull, "Joe Cool" aka "Chief," after he ran away from home. The family found their pet on Clear the Shelters day after they visited their local animal shelter.

This year's Clear the Shelters initiative was sponsored nationally by Overstock.com. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) granted a total of $134,000 to 16 animal shelters that participated in the Clear the Shelters initiative to help them offer no-cost or reduced fee adoptions or waive pet spaying and neutering fees.

"Clear the Shelters was an unprecedented event that inspired communities across the nation to open their homes to animals in need," said Matthew Bershadker, President & CEO, ASPCA. "Shelter personnel and volunteers went above and beyond to shatter adoption records and save thousands of lives. The ASPCA is proud to have been a part of this extraordinary effort and we're grateful to the NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations for helping shine a spotlight on homeless animals, exposing a broader audience to this important issue."

"We are pleased and delighted by the success of the Clear the Shelters day. Working with the dedicated NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, we knew this event would rescue many homeless animals," said Patrick M. Byrne, CEO, Overstock.com. "Whenever Overstock can leverage its technology to do good, we aim to do so."

Online, the Clear the Shelters content that was posted on station websites, mobile web and on station apps received over four million page views from mid-July 2015 through August 15, including more than one million on the actual Clear the Shelters day. On social media, the hashtag #ClearTheShelters trended nationally on Instagram on August 15; on Facebook, the hashtag trended for two consecutive days, August 14 and August 15; and on Twitter, #DesocuparAlbergues, the Spanish-language version of #ClearTheShelters, trended in New York and in Puerto Rico on August 15. The Facebook post reach in the two-week period leading up to and including the Clear the Shelters day was over 200 million among the participating NBC and Telemundo stations.

Various celebrities and news personalities also joined in the social media effort, including talk show hosts, Ellen DeGeneres, Steve Harvey and Meredith Vieira; extra's Mario Lopez; NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt; NBC TODAY's Natalie Morales and Hoda Kotb and Weekend TODAY's Erica Hill; MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough; Chicago PD's Sophia Bush; Bravo's Andy Cohen and The Manzo family; former Hills star and 1st Look host Audrina Patridge; Talk Stoop host Cat Greenleaf; George To The Rescue's George Oliphant; singer and songwriter Rob Thomas; actors Tommy Flanagan, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Stacey Travis, Adam Savage, Jessica Szohr, Zac Posen, Regina Hall, Food Network's Simply Delicioso star and Co-Host of Telemundo's Top Chef Estrellas, Ingrid Hoffman; Telemundo's Al Rojo Vivo host Maria Celeste Arraras and reporters Jessica Carrillo and Carmen Dominicci; Noticiero Telemundo's Vanessa Hauc and Telemundo network stars Carmen Villalobos, Sonya Smith, Carolina Sandoval and Vanessa Villela, among others.

The nationwide pet adoption effort will be recapped in a 30-minute post-adoption drive special that will be hosted by Natalie Morales, News Anchor and Co-Host of NBC News' TODAY. The special show will highlight the previous week's national day of action and air on Saturday, August 22 on the NBC Owned Stations plus more than 100 NBC affiliate stations. The Telemundo stations will also air a post-adoption drive show on the same day, with Elva Sarayaug, Host of Telemundo 52 Los Angeles' (KVEA) daily entertainment show, Acceso Total, serving as Co-Host alongside Jessica Carrillo, Host and Reporter for Telemundo network's Al Rojo Vivo.

Clear the Shelters was initiated last year in the Dallas-Fort Worth market as a partnership between NBCUniversal-owned stations NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth / KXAS and Telemundo 39 Dallas-Fort Worth / KXTX and dozens of North Texas animal shelters. The day resulted in the adoption of more than 2,200 homeless animals, the most adopted in one day in North Texas.

For more information about the national pet adoption drive, visit www.ClearTheShelters.com. You can also follow the effort on Twitter by using the hashtag #ClearTheShelters.

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