Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Liability in fostering contract

    Posted 03-08-2020 03:05 PM

    Hello. I am interested in fostering a dog for the first time and I was reviewing the fostering application for a local rescue that is foster only (they don't have a shelter). The application requires the foster to accept liability for all damages caused to people or property by the dog. 

    Is this typical for fostering in California? Shouldn't the rescue still have some liability since they still own the dog while I'm fostering? Hopefully this would never be an issue, but there's always some small risk that a foster dog could bite someone even if I'm taking all reasonable precautions.

    Just wondering if this is the case with all fostering situations or if I should look for a different organization to work with.

    Any insight would be appreciated.



  • 2.  RE: Liability in fostering contract

    Posted 03-09-2020 12:01 PM

    Good afternoon!  At our shelter, the foster accepts all liability when it comes to the health and well-being of the humans and other animals in their home, as well as any property damage caused by the foster animal.  We will cover veterinary expenses for our animals, but not for our fosters' animals.  Whether that animal is a kitten, that may have been exposed to illnesses that we don't know about, or a dog that is being fostered for socialization/surgery rehab.  We disclose WHAT we know.  We ask our fosters to have a separate space for their foster animal(s), should things go wrong, and assume any risks if they choose to integrate their pets with their foster animals.  Cats/kittens are easier to keep separate than dogs, and we don't require that you crate the foster dog.  They are always welcome to bring the animal back to the shelter, if it's not the right fit.


  • 3.  RE: Liability in fostering contract

    Posted 04-09-2020 08:56 AM

    I think this is normal. Rescues just can't afford to take on that risk, unfortunately. It's one of the reasons that you want to give your foster animal at least two weeks of no contact with your household animals or strangers. That way you have enough time for any illnesses or behavior problems to come to light. If you have the patience to heed this recommendation then you will GREATLY reduce the chance that anything will go wrong.

    For the first two weeks that I have a new foster, I keep the new animal in a room with no access to our other animals that can be easily sanitized. I also wash my hands before and after handling them and wear scrubs over my clothes, which may be overkill but it makes me feel so much better when I sit on our furniture or slip into bed knowing that stuff like ringworm, mange, Parvo, kennel cough and puppy poop has been safely left behind in the foster room. And if you are at all concerned about being bitten by your foster animal, contact the shelter immediately for advice. If your foster animal is mildly fearful, start slow, don't force anything and hand feed them all of their meals.

    Good luck and thanks for fostering!