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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Arizona Animal Welfare League, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animal Services, Animals

Mission: Our Mission: To create a world where there are no homeless dogs and cats Our Vision: To be the community’s leading source for pet adoptions, veterinary services, volunteer opportunities, humane education and expertise in animal welfare.

Results: We continue to grow each year since 1971 and remain the first, oldest no-kill animal welfare organization in the state of Arizona.

Target demographics: homeless Dogs & Cats and educate children

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 4,000 Dogs & Cats and over 3,000 Children

Geographic areas served: Arizona

Programs: Our Mission: To create a world where there are no homeless dogs and cats Our Vision: To be the community’s leading source for pet adoptions, veterinary services, volunteer opportunities, humane education and expertise in animal welfare. The Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA (AAWL & SPCA) is the largest and oldest no-kill shelter in Arizona. We are a no-kill shelter in that we do not euthanize animals except for the rare occasions when it is in the best interest of the animal to do so, usually from untreatable medical conditions. AAWL & SPCA is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization, tax ID 23-7149453. All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law. AAWL & SPCA rescues, rehabilitates and re-homes more than 5,000 dogs and cats that are abandoned or that have been surrendered by their owners. We do this primarily by rescuing them from other shelters in Maricopa County where they are likely to be euthanized due to the lack of time and resources to care for them. At any one time our shelter will hold 140 cats and 190 dogs. We also have a foster parent network of approximately 90 families who provide care and shelter in their homes for puppies and kittens that are too young to be adopted, and those animals that are recovering from medical procedures or that need socialization before adoption. All pets offered for adoption have been spayed or neutered; micro-chipped and are current on all vaccinations. Any medical treatments needed, including surgeries, are provided by our medical team and all animals are evaluated by our behavior department. Learn more about our Phoenix veterinary services and animal clinic. AAWL & SPCA not only adopts companion animals into loving homes, we also hold a leadership position in the community in education and animal welfare issues. Please review our Education section to learn about all of our programs (including our school holiday and summer camps) and don't miss our extensive dog and obedience training classes. Background The Arizona Animal Welfare League (AAWL) was founded in 1971 by a group of concerned animal lovers. This group was led by Amanda Blake, best known as "Miss Kitty" on the television program, Gunsmoke. Starting out on a small scale, concerned volunteers adopted rescued cats and dogs from foster homes. In the late 1970s, the organization built its first shelter. By the mid 1990s, the AAWL & SPCA began rescuing animals scheduled to be euthanized by the County, and, after rehabilitation, made them available for adoption to the community. Over the past 42 years the organization has grown from adopting a handful of animals each year to a full service animal welfare organization and leader in innovative behavior training, medical care, adoption, education and community outreach programs. Today our shelter has an onsite veterinary clinic, kennels with a separate cattery, a training center and a freestanding infirmary. In 2005, the Arizona Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) merged into AAWL. The new organization was renamed the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA (AAWL & SPCA).

Community Stories

5 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Amazing organization who has the animals' happyness as first priority.

1 cj__2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is one of the best non-profits in Arizona with their programs, their collaborations, their outreach to the communities they served and their attitude to use cutting edge techniques with the animals whose lives they save! We are so privileged, to be a partner with them as they work to maximize resources to better help those in crisis - two legged and four!

2 Kay_36

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As the owner of Watchdog Pet Care in Phoenix, AZ, I follow the work of many animal rescue groups in Arizona and around the country. I have been following Arizona Animal Welfare League on Facebook for a long time. They consistently post creative, attractive pictures of their adoptable animals. They make the animals very appealing through the backstory of the potential pet. Also, they celebrate the ones who have been adopted. They do such a good job that I always repost their posts, and advise my clients to donate to them and adopt from their shelter. I personally donate to this organization as often as I can.



Rating: 5

This is a very professionaly-run animal rescue organization with so many different services - they are so much more than an animal "shelter". They have a wonderful new low-cost vet center where anyone can take their animals for treatments or vaccines or whatever they need. They have a great dog training program which I used with great success. They have a whole education department with kids programs and summer camps. They have hundreds of volunteers and I looked into fostering some puppies which I hope to do next year when I get settled in my new home. I can't say enough good things about them and the people that work there. They also get great ratings from charity rating groups which is very important to my husband and me. They have a beautiful new building and the animals look so happy and well cared for - they have toys and soft bedding and I love the way everyone knows their names and all about them. They really get to know the animals - they don't just "hand them out" like some groups do. I can't say enough good things about them.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

AAWL is a unique organization in that it devotes the time and resources necessary to find a perfect home for each animal it takes in - and that's more than 3,000 animals a year. Now, with a new adoption center and other off-site locations that are in the works, they will save almost double that number in the future. There is no better animal welfare organization in Arizona and deserves support from everyone who cares for homeless animals.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In the 90s, a new concept hit the animal shelter community – the ‘No Kill’ movement. Shelters such as the San Francisco SPCA worked to change the status quo in their community. Little did the country know, but the Arizona Animal Welfare League was already operating a No Kill shelter. The AAWL has always advocated for animal welfare and has developed programs and services designed educate the public, bring awareness of the pet overpopulation problem and provide needed public services to the community they serve. Combined, these efforts are contributing to ending the needless euthanasia of animals.

This advocacy is seen every day with the dedicated staff and army of volunteers who work tirelessly to save animals. They don’t say the dog or cat is too old or unhealthily but rather, they work to save every life they can. The shelter is a partner with the Maddie’s project as well as having strong collaborative relationships with other Valley rescue groups and pet affiliations.

I have seen this personally as a volunteer, donor and adopter of four dogs from the AAWL. As a volunteer, I work with the medical staff. The vet and vets techs are all professional and compassionate. Emergencies are addressed with the utmost professionalism and with the animals’ comfort and safety in mind. The adoption counselors take the extra time to work with potential adopters so they understand the animal’s history. The education and volunteer departments have a monumental task but are always willing to answer questions. The management team has a vision for the shelter and works to solicit donations as well as being the front face of the shelter. The training department has developed programs that differentiate AAWL from other Valley shelters.

These actions don’t go unnoticed because with the help of an anonymous donation, the shelter is embarking on building a new adoption center in order to increase the life saving potential. That is also why your help is needed. If you are considering an organization to make a donation, volunteer your time, looking for a companion animal or just want to get involved in the animal welfare community, please consider the AAWL.