Foster care may be key to cleaning kennels, says animal shelter

From California to Florida, animal shelters across the country are reporting that their dogs, especially larger dogs, are running out of space.

a reason? Demand for ‘epidemic puppies’ has fallen as people return to work. One possible solution is to cultivate.

“All shelters across the country need your help. One of the biggest ways you can help is through foster care,” said Melissa Knicely, a spokeswoman for Charlotte’s Department of Animal Care and Control.

Now, Knicely’s sanctuary has no shortage of larger breeds. It has a kennel capacity of 100% and has not been below 85% capacity in the past year, which is considered critical capacity. Ideally, their cages would be about half full, she said.

“It’s stressful. Do you hear all the barking? It’s stressful. You bring these animals into your home. They’ll be more comfortable. You start to understand their personalities,” she said.

Knicely says that’s why foster care in shelters is becoming more popular. She said about half of dog owners end up adopting them. Even if they don’t adopt, foster care can help shelters learn how dogs behave around family members or other pets over a long period of time.

“We have a lot of information to share in order to find the right home for that dog,” Knicely said.

“As you can imagine, people have been an issue since the beginning of the pandemic. That’s why it’s so important to get people to come forward to volunteer and nurture,” said Katie Bullock, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States Say.

The Humane Society said that for some shelters, too many dogs aren’t the only problem — so is staffing. Charlotte Animal Care and Control can now hire 13 people on the spot, Knicely said, but finding the right people can be difficult.

As far as adopting dogs is concerned, the Humane Society says some are being overpriced due to inflation.

“It’s hard to find affordable housing where you can have pets,” Bullock said.

You can have a dog anywhere from a day to several months, depending on the organization and the dog’s needs. Sometimes dog ownership allows space at the shelter for animals that need special care or management.

“When you raise one animal, you’re actually saving two animals. Because you’re saving the animal you’re raising, and you’re making room for the next animal that needs shelter,” Knicely said.

Cats are adopted much faster, Knicely said. Probably because they fit more easily into people’s busy schedules.


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