My shelter offers temporary foster for owned pets for citizens dealing with domestic violence, homelessness, medical issues, etc. We are working to revamp this program this year. I was wondering if any other shelters offer this type of service for citizens? If so, do you have any advice for increasing RTO's, finding fosters, and example documents?
I love these types of programs. How does this work from the liability stand point, IE do the owners officially surrender to your care and your insurance would cover them as animals in your custody? I also would be interested in how the timeline is established. IE do you have a set amount of time before the pet is considered surrendered vs temporarily housed or is it situational.
Our shelter has this program as well, although I'll admit its on a very small scale and placement is totally based on foster availability. Currently we are consistently able to place cats and small dogs, but usually not able to place large dogs. In our program we intake it as an owner surrender, we have paperwork for the owner that discusses pet temperament, secondary contact, who can NOT be contacted (usually cases of domestic violence), timeline expected, owner's plan for coverage after end date is reached, our max coverage is 60 days on paper, but many times we have exceeded this, which is one reason the program is small, and its totally depending on the circumstance and up to the foster or if I can find a next foster to determine how long we can extend. There is a 45 day grace period built in as well, if we don't hear from owner with plans to pick up the animal towards the end of the 60 days (or whatever timeline they specified originally) the paperwork explains their animal will be considered surrendered at the end of the 45 day grace period, before and during which we will have attempted contact to all contact info available. We do require that they let us spay/neuter/update vaccines on their pet if unaltered/out of date to participate in the program, we handle all communication/photos of pets to owners, we do not give out owners or fosters contact information. Thankfully we have a couple other groups doing this (but on the down low) and one group that helps unhoused people and offering pet fostering/assistance as well so we are usually able to refer homelessness cases with large dogs to that organization.
Would love to hear what others are doing to get more fosters involved in this specific type of fostering and increase RTO!
------------------------------Niki FlanaganLeague for Animal Welfare------------------------------
------------------------------Leah BocanegraManaging DirectorThe Happy Pet ProjectTXOriginal Message:Sent: 02-03-2024 07:51 AMFrom: August Hutchins (They/Them)Subject: Temporary fosters for owned pets- keeping pets and families together
#AdmissionsandIntake(includingIntake-to-placement)#CaseManagement*#Diversity,Equity,InclusionandJustice#FosterPrograms#PetSupportServices*------------------------------August Hutchins (They/Them)Foster CoordinatorHillsborough County Pet Resource CenterTampa, Florida813-272-1157------------------------------
This program is wonderful, I would greatly appreciate a few more details if you can share them . In California, our numbers have risen for homeless and families in need. The numbers have grown at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, we do not have a lot of programs that support people and their pets.
Lt. Wendy Helton
------------------------------wendy heltonAnimal Services Field SupervisorCity of Mission ViejoCA------------------------------
I am unaware of a program as such in NY but there is an Organization called PAWSNY.com that offers help to people in need and there is a shelter that allows people with pets. Would love to learn of other orgs if anyone is familiar.
We are in the process of getting a program like that started in our animal shelter.
I'd love to know more about your program too. Congrats on the revamp. I feel like these emergency/crisis foster programs are the future of animal care, and it's so exciting to see them popping up across the country. I know the clients my organization serves (people diagnosed with cancer) certainly need that support.
I can second Stella that PAWS NY here (https://pawsny.org/) are AMAZING. I've maybe only seen one other organization across the country that offers the full support services they do.
And – though I don't know if they serve Florida yet – you may want to have a convo with the crew from BestyBnb (https://bestybnb.com/). Here's their recent Community Conversation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ojDOQcNJQ4&list=PLa9E7R-3uyGr5SnYqg3ce8KN2IjpLknQx&index=16
Their platform is amazing – and may be one way you could approach rallying fosters, figuring out liability, and connecting with partner orgs such as folks who can help with people experiencing domestic violence, homelessness, etc.
I agree that these types of programs are the future and we are so excited to see how we can increase the success of our program! I'll definitely reach out to those organizations for some advice.
Thanks so much!
We also have a program and I am researching other programs. Would love to #follow this thread and be able to discuss with others how our program works and how their programs work!
------------------------------Melissa RobinsonEast Bay SPCAOakland CA------------------------------
My program in Duluth MN/Superior WI offers temporary foster placement of pets for folks experiencing a crisis such as homelessness, house fire, domestic violence, MI or CD treatment, hospitalization etc. We are new and very small, and would benefit from additional input from larger or longer standing programs as well.
------------------------------Kayla ZinterPresidentPuppa's PalsMN------------------------------
I am very much interested in emergency, short term fostering. I agree with Brian that this maybe the wave of the future. I am a trainer but have fostered many dogs. I particularly like short term fostering. I think people will be more receptive if they know there is an end date. The traditional fostering is open ended and the uncertainty discourages potential foster caregivers. I have liability insurance for training but for precaution, I also add board and train insurance to take in fosters. Any thought on liability? I don't think rental insurance covers liability but home insurance might. How does insurance impact fosters who are renters vs home owners? Are either the shelters or rescues expected to assume the responsibility and not the fosters? Tx.
Hi!I love this conversation and wanted to drop in some resources:
Thank you for these resources. As always, you are AMAZING!
We currently work with local law enforcement and our local homeless shelter. We respond 24/7 - we have a simple form that gathers information about the pet (medical history, behavioral issues, etc.) and who the pet can be released to if the pet can not be returned to their owner. We will hold them for up to 90 days or a court date.
With the homeless shelter, we work with the shelter to provide time for the pet to visit. If it is possible, we will provide a crate and all the pet's needs so that the pet can stay with their person at the shelter.
Another area of great need, are programs to provide temporary foster homes for individuals/families who are in shelter or in crisis due to domestic violence.
We started a safety net fostering program last year. So far we have been working with other organizations in our area that can flag people in need and reach out to us. We have formal paperwork they fill out and then we start with a fostering period of 30 days. I reach out at 15 days and see how they are doing and let them know how their pet is doing in foster. With these programs, we also offer free vet care. All animals will be altered, microchipped and up to date on their vaccines.
We work with a woman's shelter, the hospital, senior services, Indian health services and are now starting to work with a rehabilitation program. We are trying to only do planned procedures as we run into problem with emergency hospitalization as sometimes they could be in the hospital for over 3 months and we do not have the space to foster their animals that long.
We have also started working with meals on wheels who travel to seniors home and tell them about our programs so that they know they have an option if they are putting surgeries off or are delaying care for their animals. That has been the most successful way we have been treating animals.
It is all a learning experience and we have good partnerships and also areas to improve on. For finding fosters, we did a recruitment post and then I included it on my yearly foster registration so my normal fosters can indicate if they would be willing to foster owned pets.
If you are working with other businesses and HIPPA laws, I would have them draft up some paperwork for their clients or fosters to sign that way everything is staying within HIPPA laws. That has worked really well for us so we don't have to worry about legal issues.
I just had a few questions for you; I'm thinking about attempting to start a similar program at my organization. What is your reunification rate? Are your clients able to check-in on their pets while they are in foster? I love that you mention working with Meals on Wheels - what a great idea!
In 2019 I co-founded a safety-net foster program here in Atlanta called Paws Between Homes that is still going strong. There's an informal group of similar orgs and programs that has monthly Zoom calls to share ideas and resources, etc. If you're interested in being added to the listserv, let me know! My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.