Clear the Shelters is August 17, 2019

For the 5th consecutive year, NBC Universal and Hill’s Brand Pet Food have teamed up for Clear the Shelters, a nationwide pet adoption campaign culminating on August 17. And this year, actor Christopher Meloni is helping Hill’s spread the word about the importance of pet adoption. You may recognize Meloni from his well-known roles as both Elliott Stabler in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as well as in HBO’s hit prison drama, Oz, where he played inmate Chris Keller.

We had the great privilege of speaking directly with Christopher Meloni to discover the how and why he got involved with this year’s Clear the Shelter Campaign.

Interview with Christopher Meloni

Here’s Christopher Meloni on…

…how rescuing has influenced his life:

“I had dogs growing up and when my kids started asking for a dog, I thought it would be best to rescue a dog, rather than go to a breeder. This way, I was able to expose them to rescue and they were part of a process where they could be helpful in saving an animal.”

…pets growing up:

“I had dogs growing up throughout childhood and throughout my life, I’ve helped dogs including rescue work I’ve done in the Dominican Republic. My wife had two cats, and that was really my first exposure to cats.”

…how rescuing has influenced his kid’s lives:

“When it came time for our family to adopt, we chose a dog with a broken leg. It helped my kids see an animal in real need – a broken animal. Letting my kids be part of our dog’s recovery showed them that they can make a difference in healing.”

…roles that involved animals:

“I haven’t had much of an opportunity to work directly with animals in my career as an actor. Though I remember one of the first commercials I did was for Stroh’s Beer and it featured a great golden retriever. It was kind of a spoof because at the time, we were competing again Budweiser and Spuds MacKenzie!”

…why he partnered with Hill’s Brand Pet Food:

“I am excited to be working with Hill’s because they don’t just talk the talk – they walk the walk. They are deeply involved in helping animal rescues and they have been for a very long time. The Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love™ program helps feed homeless pets in over 800 North American shelters every day, and the program is active in 50 U.S. states and 6 Canadian provinces. The program was founded in 2002, and has provided over $290 million worth of Hill’s® brand pet foods to over 1,000 animal shelters, and helped over 10 million pets find new homes (and counting).

…what his goals or hopes are for this year’s Clear the Shelters Campaign:

“Raising awareness of the plight of shelter animals and finding more homes. I’ll be watching what happens this year and I just hope that we continue to raise the awareness level on how great shelter animals are and that people should go to their local shelter to find their next pet.”

A big thanks to Christopher Meloni and Hill’s Brand Pet Foods! At The Catnip Times, we 100% support making adoption your first option – there are literally millions of pets just waiting for a forever home.

If you’re considering adding a new pet to your family – consider adopting on Saturday, August 17, 2019 which is the official Clear the Shelters Day. Many rescues will be waiving or reducing their adoption fees on August 17.  To find a shelter that is participating near you, view the Clear the Shelters map and search your zip code.

About Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Sponsor of “Clear the Shelters”

Hill’s Pet Nutrition has been dedicated to transforming the lives of pets not only through scientific research and groundbreaking nutrition for dogs and cats, but also through their commitment to animals beyond pet food. For more than 15 years, Hill’s has supported shelter animals by ensuring they receive the most excellent nutrition in preparation for being placed in their forever homes with their Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love Program™. On Clear The Shelter Day, animal shelters and rescues in the U.S. and Puerto Rico will waive or reduce their adoption fees to help families adopt a pet. Since 2015, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations’ Clear The Shelters campaign has resulted in more than a quarter million pet adoptions. To further illustrate the important role nutrition plays in preparing pets for adoption Hill’s created an eBook that shows this journey from the perspective of a shelter dog, from when she first arrives until she gets adopted. For every download Hill’s will donate a meal to a shelter in need. You can download the eBook from iTunes or Amazon beginning August 14th.   For details on how to get involved and find a participating shelter in your area, visit

More about Christopher Meloni

Christopher Peter Meloni is an American actor best known for his television roles as NYPD Detective Elliot Stabler on the NBC legal drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for its first twelve seasons and as inmate Chris Keller on the HBO prison drama Oz. In June 2012, he returned to HBO, as the vampire Roman on the main cast of True Blood for the series’ fifth season. Meloni starred in and was an executive producer of the Syfy series Happy! (2017–2019), based on the comic book series created by writer Grant Morrison and artist Darick Robertson. Meloni can be seen on the current series of the fan favorite The Handmaid’s Tale.

His films include Man of SteelWet Hot American SummerHarold & Kumar Go to White Castle12 MonkeysRunaway Bride42, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.