Animal shelters looking to community to foster animals through pandemic

Shiloh is one of many of the humane society's dogs that have found a temporary home with a local family.

The Lee County Humane Society has cancelled all events through the end of March, but animals are still available for fostering and adoption.

All offsite events are canceled through the month of March, including regular adoption events at PetSmart and PetCo as well as Bark in the Park. The annual gala, Shrimpin’ for the Shelter, will be postponed to a later date, according to a society press release.

The Humane Society is still encouraging adoptions, however. The society’s current adoption special decreases the adoption fee to $19 for all altered animals, with an additional $50 spay/neuter deposit for unaltered animals.

The society is encouraging people to foster animals to provide companionship during this public health emergency and to prevent overcrowding.

“I assume there are several people who are the only person in their home, and a furry, warm body in the home during the quarantine period will likely make the home feel more ‘normal’,” Bailey Ray, foster coordinator with Lee County Humane Society, said.

Ray noted that there has been no evidence of COVID-19 spreading through pets, so a possible foster animal wouldn’t be a threat to their host’s health.

With decreasing adoption numbers and an increase in the number of intakes, Ray emphasized that it’s times like these where foster homes for animals are needed the most.

“If we cannot move pets to foster homes or get them adopted, we will have to make the unfortunate decision that no shelter wants to make,” she said.

The shelter is restricting the number of people allowed inside, and officials have asked that those who are interested in fostering or adopting an animal call ahead to make an appointment. Images of the animals available at the shelter can be found at lee countyhumane.org.

“All fosters are required to complete a foster application through our website,” Ray said. “The application does have a dog and cat version, but fosters can complete both, though, if they would like to foster both in the future.”

Ray said they need as much help as they can get. Animals at the shelter are typically housed in foster homes for up to two weeks, but she said that any amount of time is helpful to both the shelter’s animals and staff.

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