When Joe Sowerby shares the statistics for the number of animals euthanized in the state each year you can hear the despair in his voice. He said 118,000 cats, dogs, kittens and puppies were killed last year and nationwide the number was over 3 million. In addition, six out of 10 dogs and eight out of 10 cats never leave the shelter once they are dropped there.
“That is all because we don’t spay and neuter our pets,” Sowerby said, “and we need to treat our animals like family not like they are disposable items to trade in because we are tired of them.”
Sowerby, of Chesterfield Township, has been an advocate for homeless animals across the state for two decades. He created the Pet-A-Palooza and will host the 11th annual event at the Palace on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be 25 different rescue organizations set up to introduce homeless pets to new owners. Admission is free and parking is $5.
Sowerby also created the original “Meet Your Best Friend at the Zoo” event that is still in existence, although he’s now just the armchair quarterback for this event hosted by the Michigan Humane Society and the Detroit Zoo.
Pet-A-Palooza was first held at Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights but moved to the Palace of Auburn Hills four years ago. There were 6,000 people at last year’s Pet-A-Palooza and 417 animals found new homes.