Oakland Animal Services director Rebecca Katz has a message for the public: now is the time to come “check out” a dog. The shelter has launched a new foster program with a goal of placing 20 large adult dogs in foster homes in the next 10 days. The public is encouraged to learn more about providing a foster home for a shelter dog at http://www.palseastbay.org/
“Fostering is a great way to help an animal on a temporary basis, for a month or longer,” explains Katz. “We like to think of it like a ‘lending library’ where people can check out a dog and always bring it back if it is not the right fit.” Fosters can also choose to adopt if they fall in love. The shelter covers expenses for vet care as well as food if needed.
“Times are tough in Oakland right now,” says Katz. “We are seeing a tremendous increase in the number of people losing their housing and forced to give up their dogs. As a result we have seen a surge in surrendered and stray pets at the shelter, and these are truly sweet, family dogs.”
With intake rates significantly higher than last summer, the shelter is at 200 percent capacity with an especially high number of large dogs. Even with the influx, the shelter has made great progress improving its live release rate, effectively reducing the number of animals put to sleep. For the past two months, the live release rate has been 83 percent compared to 71 percent for the same time period last year.
In an effort to boost adoptions, the shelter has waived adoption fees for all animals through July 20 and is also reaching out to local rescue partners.
“But we need additional help from the public to truly save every adoptable dog,” adds Katz.
According to Katz, the 20 dogs she most wants to find foster homes have been at the shelter longer than two months. While she encourages the public to learn more about these dogs at http://www.palseastbay.org/
“More has to be done to educate our community about the importance of sterilizing your pets and responsible guardianship – it takes the whole community working together to solve our overpopulation of homeless animals,” says Katz. “I am so proud of the work and dedication of our staff and volunteers – they do so much on behalf of Oakland’s most at-risk animals. But the truth is that the best shelter in the world is not a substitute for a home.”