Rob and Melani Walton Foundation Makes $5M Gift to Arizona’s Homeless Pets

Arizona Humane Society's Rob & Melani Walton Papago Park Campus rendering

The Arizona Humane Society is thrilled to announce a $5M gift from the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation, one of the largest single contributions to AHS in its 64-year history. This milestone gift to name the Rob & Melani Walton Papago Park Campus, expected to open in early 2023, signifies the culmination of years’ worth of transformation for homeless pets in Maricopa County.

“When I first came to Arizona in 2013, Maricopa County was considered one of the worst places to be a homeless pet,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, Arizona Humane Society President and CEO. “Now, as we begin building AHS’ Rob & Melani Walton Papago Park Campus, we can celebrate nearly a decade of unprecedented transformation that has resulted in an additional 130,000 lives saved and this new campus will allow us to do even more. The Rob and Melani Walton Foundation’s generous $5M commitment to our community’s pets will allow us to expand our system of care and provide medical and behavioral interventions at a level not yet seen in the United States and for years to come.”

“We are honored to partner with the Arizona Humane Society on this extraordinary project, and help them make a transformational difference in the treatment and welfare of animals in our community,” said Melani and Rob Walton. “This new campus will serve as an important gathering place for people and animals alike and as an example of how innovative, compassionate services can expand to serve to all who need them.”

With an unparalleled commitment to caring for the Valley’s most vulnerable pets, the Arizona Humane Society’s 72,000-square foot Papago Park Campus will replace the deteriorating Sunnyslope Campus. The two-story campus will feature the Watts Family Medical Complex, anchored by AHS’ Lazin Animal Foundation Trauma Hospital and intensive care units, and will expand AHS’ ability to care for Arizona’s sick, injured and abused homeless pets, seventy-five percent (11,000) of which are currently treated in AHS’ trauma hospital. Additionally, AHS’ trauma hospital will serve as a full teaching hospital for emerging veterinary students at a time when the veterinary profession is experiencing an extreme shortage.

With a continued focus on animals often left behind: the sick, injured, and abused; as well as those deemed “untreatable” by shelters throughout the country, AHS will also continue strategic spay/neuter initiatives and community outreach targeted to pet owners in crisis.

The new campus, along with AHS’ Nina Mason Pulliam South Mountain Campus and mobile veterinary clinic, will allow AHS to expand its lifesaving services for pet owners in order to meet the region’s rapidly growing population—a population that is currently experiencing the highest growth rate in the country. AHS’ veterinary clinics will continue to serve the surrounding community with affordable veterinary care including spay/neuter surgeries, low-cost vaccine days and general veterinary services while AHS’ Pet Resource Center will continue to provide resources and support to pet owners facing hardships so that families can remain together.

Papago Park Campus’ Impact

  • Treat 25% (thousands) more trauma patients in triage area
  • Potential to double the number of newborn kittens cared for in AHS’ Bottle Baby ICU
  • Increase spay/neuter by more than 100%
  • Treat 40% more underserved pets with veterinary services
  • Increase in adoption/pet placement by 24%

The mission of the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation is to elevate people, planet, and purpose by changing what people feel is possible and know is doable. The Rob and Melani Walton Foundation seeks partners who focus on the essential and interconnected elements of sustaining life, advancing all forms of knowledge, promoting understanding of healing, and increasing the sustainability of people and our planet.

Since 1957, the Arizona Humane Society (AHS) has been saving the lives of the Valley’s most vulnerable pets. Guided by our Ethical No-Kill Philosophy™, we save thousands of pets every year through a system of care that includes AHS’ trauma hospital and intensive care units, comprehensive medical and foster programs and behavior intervention programs. Our community-based model comprised of a Pet Resource Center, affordable veterinary services, proactive outreach, community support and partner collaboration, keeps pets in loving homes where they belong. Our visionary approach to animal welfare has transformed the Valley from being the second-worst place to be a homeless pet to one of the best. And coming early 2023, our new Rob & Melani Walton Papago Park Campus will expand our lifesaving efforts by the thousands.

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