For the first time ever, the Carthage Humane Society will participate in next Saturday’s Clear the Shelters animal adoption drive.

More than 1,000 shelters and rescue centers nationwide are participating, including the Joplin Humane Society and SEK Humane Society in Pittsburg, Kansas.

You may have heard a little something-something about this; the stars of the movie “Secret Life of Pets 2” — Lake Bell, Patton Oswalt, Bobby Moynihan and Eric Stonestreet — have been on television publicizing this annual event.

Clear the Shelters was created by NBC and Telemundo five years ago to help unwanted dogs and cats, hidden away inside shelters, to find permanent loving homes.

Luckily, CHS is a no-kill shelter. So too are JHS and SEK. But a vast majority of the shelters participating elsewhere aren’t. Which is why Clear the Shelter is so important.

How important?

More than 100,000 pets last year were adopted out from 1,200-plus shelters nationwide. Since 2015, the total number of adoptions sits at 256,688. That’s the great news. It’s making a dent in the number of former pets that are forced to be euthanized inside shelters. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 1.5 million animals — 860,000 cats and about 670,000 dogs — are put down each year because of shelter overcrowding.

“This is just a big national event where a bunch of shelters across the nation are joining together to let the word out and have people come and adopt pets,” said CHS shelter manager Amber Gilmore.

There will be reduced adoption fees for all available shelter animals, though those prices won’t be publicized until Wednesday, she said. But the shelter has animals of “all ages, all sizes, all breeds.”

“It will be a pretty big deal,” she continued. “This is the first time we’re doing it. We’re a little bit new to it but looking forward to it.

Our area shelters certainly aren’t immune to overcrowding, and CHS is no exception. As of Friday afternoon, there were 79 cats and 75 dogs at the shelter.

One of those dogs hoping for adoption is a big great Dane mix named Scooby, who was recently highlighted on the shelter’s Facebook page. He doesn’t particular like other dogs and cats but absolutely loves to be the “only child” in a family of humans.

“We really don’t know what to expect,” Gilmore said. “We’re hoping to have a really good time and get a lot of cats and dogs adopted.”

Clear the Shelter events are as follows:

• The Carthage Humane Society will be staying open an extra hour on Saturday, from noon to 6 p.m., to help adopt additional dogs and cats. There will also be gift bags given away with each pet adoption. Contact Gilmore at 417-358-6402 to contact them via Facebook for any questions or further details. Donations are appreciated.

• The Joplin Humane Society’s event will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will have adoption specials taking place during that time. Hill’s Pet Nutrition will be at the shelter with super cute goodie bags for all pets adopted from JHS on Saturday. Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., there will be tasty grilled hot dogs available. Donations are appreciated.

• The SEK Humane Society in Pittsburg, Kansas will be discounting shelter adoption fees even further than its ongoing August special. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., fees for cats will be $20, dogs will be $40 and black dogs older than 6 months will be $30. Donations are appreciated.

Remember, by adopting from a no-kill animal shelter — we have six in our area: two in Joplin and one each in Carthage, Neosho, Pittsburg, Kansas and Grove, Oklahoma — you are opening a spot for an animal in need that’s on a waiting list.

Address correspondence to Kevin McClintock, c/o The Joplin Globe, Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email kmcclintock@joplinglobe.com.