Not only are people nationwide buying toilet paper and frozen foods during the coronavirus pandemic, but many are also bringing new foster pets home. Animal rescue organizations have reported a significant backlash among interested foster parents during the past month, especially in heavily affected areas such as New York City.
According to Julie Castle, CEO Best Friends Animal Society, a nationwide non-profit organization that operates an adoption center nationwide, has experienced a “boost” pet foster application.
“I think you’re attracted to pets at this uncertain time because they can provide comfort,” Castle told CBS News. “Pet companions have shown reduced stress, reduced anxiety, and news from the outside world helping people calm down and feel safer when disastrous.”
A non-profit recruiting center in Salt Lake City received 350 new applications in just one week. In Los Angeles, organizations are “receiving hundreds of requests”, and workers are now referencing people to local shelters. The organization’s New York City shelter has been closed. All 23 pets found a foster home.
According to Castle, new visitors increased during the week of March 16-22, website traffic increased by 240%, and foster parent pages received more hits than home pages.
“Fostering has begun in our centers and across the country, but we need to consider a permanent solution for these pets,” Castle said. “If you’re at home and looking for something to do, maybe you’ll postpone writing the novel for another few years and introduce your family to a new pet.”
New Yorkers raise pets and love them: Learn how they use their time in quarantine to help community pets: https://t.co/d58V0TPFYr. #foster # covid19 #quarantine # NYC ^ ND pic.twitter.com/aAk1OcvDnR
—Best friend [@bestfriends] March 25, 2020
North Shore Animal League America is also seeing a surge in applications. Joanne Johannan, senior vice president of the organization, said that in the past weeks dozens of animals have been brought into foster homes, a “significant increase” compared to the average number.
“It’s great to see the community come together and speak to people who have no voice,” Johannan said. “We think this is happening, because people want to do something meaningful, especially at times like this.”
New York City Animal Rescue Corps is also seeing a surge in foster applications. Allison Seelig, vice president of marketing at Hearts & Bones Rescue, told CBS News that applications were flooded when the virus began to spread throughout the city.
Hearts & Bones rescue dogs primarily from Dallas shelters and carry them to New York City to find a home forever. According to Searig, the organization has received over 200 new applications in a week. She said she hopes the surge will not be a temporary rise as more people are following social distance guidelines during the outbreak.
“I hope that interest in childcare continues beyond the crisis, even when people return to work. This is the most important thing anyone can do to reduce the number of dogs in shelters across the country. “It’s one of those things.” “Many of our regular caregivers work in full-time offices, and they’re completely manageable!”
Hearts & Bones Rescue has been able to transport 54 dogs from Dallas to New York City due to a surge in foster recruitment.
Hearts & Bone Rescue
While more pets were being placed in foster homes, Johannan said that the United States certainly did not “deplete” the pets it needed, and that many animals were still in shelters. “Sadly, we haven’t seen the United States where there is a shortage of animals to feed,” she said. “The more people who open their homes to care, the more animals we can rescue and place instead.”
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