Arizona Humane Society, veterinary students collaborate on shelter overcapacity crisis

The Arizona Humane Society is partnering with the Western Maricopa Education Center to have veterinary students in training provide animals with medical care and support while they await forever homes.

In the midst of an overcapacity crisis at Maricopa County animal shelters, the Humane Society has teamed up with West-MEC, schools that provide career and technical education programs to students.

In a statement, the Humane Society said the collaboration provides students with hands-on experience and addresses the pet overcapacity challenge that the shelter has faced in 2023. The partnership also helps address the broader veterinarian shortage crisis.

“It’s a win-win situation,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, Humane Society president and CEO, in the news release. “The partnership with West-MEC not only helps us create much-needed space during times of overcapacity but also provides aspiring veterinary professionals with hands-on experience, fostering their passion for animal care.”

The news release stated that earlier in the month, Beluga, Beau and Jack, three "almost adoptable dogs" from the shelter, were transferred from the Humane Society to the West-MEC campus in Surprise. The three dogs have received medical care and a little extra love and attention from the students enrolled in the Veterinary Science Program.

The Humane Society said the dogs are nearing the end of their stay with the students and will soon return to the shelter to become available for adoption.

The Humane Society also said it works with West-MEC seniors on a shelter medicine externship program. The partnership allows the Humane Society to continue its mission of caring for the most vulnerable pets even when kennel space is tight.

How you can help: Maricopa County animal shelters are at overcapacity

The Humane Society is having $20 dog and puppy adoptions through Dec. 17 for BISSELL Pet Foundation's Empty the Shelters Holiday Hope Event. View the list of available pets here.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona Humane Society collaborates with veterinary students