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Advice or articles to defend big dog foster program?

  • 1.  Advice or articles to defend big dog foster program?

    Maddie's Fund Staff
    Posted 25 days ago

    Posting on behalf of @Chrissy Lowe from Iredell County -


    I was hoping you could help with some information. We have a foster to adopt program for our heartworm positive dogs that keeps them in foster for the duration of their treatment (6-8 months) with their adopter.

    Even though we have a full time veterinarian on staff our state laws wont allow for us to treat the public's animals.

    Yesterday one of the dogs in that program slipped out of its collar and killed a small dog that was being walked down the street by its owner. Now the victim is holding us financially responsible. The dog had a history of small prey drive (killing 2 cats and a pig) that was disclosed to the foster.

    In the past 3 months we have been placing dogs with know behavior history up for adoption/foster after all the facts (behavior history, cause of bite, observed behavior, staff interactions) are considered by the director, shelter supervisor, and shelter veterinarian and the path is ruled on as a group. We also created a behavior waiver that discloses all known behavior history to the new owner/ adopter. And we recently started a weekend sleepover program(foster) for our long term large dogs that has been very successful.

    My concern is that the county is going to make us stop these programs due to the liability. Is there any advice or articles I can read on how to better protect ourselves? I am trying to have an argument ready if they try to shut down our programs that allow our large dogs to get out to foster/adoption.​

    THANK YOU!
    #Behavior,TrainingandEnrichment
    #FieldServicesandPublicSafety*
    #FosterPrograms
    #LawsandPublicPolicy

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    Thank you all for all you do!

    Amber Freiwald
    Maddie's Fund
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  • 2.  RE: Advice or articles to defend big dog foster program?

    Maddie's Fund Staff
    Posted 25 days ago

    @Chrissy Lowe

    It sounds like you're already doing a lot of the right stuff. I'd suggest setting up a meeting with risk management, where you can explain to them why foster is the best place for pets to await adoption, using data from studies like this: https://chewonthis.maddiesfund.org/2019/08/foster-care-has-an-impact-on-dogs-welfare-and-adoption-study-suggests/.

    You could discuss ways to decrease risk while keeping their foster program strong, like creating or expanding foster training, revising their foster agreement, etc.

    One of the things Pima Animal Care Center did to increase transparency with safety was to create a yearly safety report that showed the number of pets placed in adoption and foster, the number of bites in the community, etc: https://webcms.pima.gov/UserFiles/Servers/Server_6/File/Government/Administration/CH[…]019%20Pima%20Animal%20Care%20Center%20-%20Safety%20Report.pdf

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    Kelly Duer
    Maddie's Fund
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  • 3.  RE: Advice or articles to defend big dog foster program?

    Posted 24 days ago
    HI Crissy,

    We have just started to use behavior and health waivers and would be very interested in the format that you use. From our agency's standpoint the waivers have done wonders in helping to convince the county that these programs do not pose excessive liability.

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    Kim Casey
    Jackson County Animal Services
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  • 4.  RE: Advice or articles to defend big dog foster program?

    Posted 23 days ago
    Kelly,
    Thank you for the info!

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    Chrissy Lowe
    Iredell County
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  • 5.  RE: Advice or articles to defend big dog foster program?

    Posted 23 days ago
    Kim,
    I have attached the behavior waiver we use. One is blank and the other is an example of one we have sent out. It is very basic and to the point and we just summarize the past incidents that have occurred.

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    Chrissy Lowe
    Iredell County
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    Attachment(s)

    docx
    Behavior Waiver.docx   13 KB 1 version