Shelter animals find temporary refuge with the majority of Philadelphians stuck at home

Foster dog
Photo credit Courtesy of PSPCA

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Area animal shelters have put adoptions on hold as COVID-19 continues to spread. But since people are staying home during the crisis, they're ramping up foster care efforts for animals waiting for their forever home.

At the Pennsylvania SPCA headquarters in North Philadelphia, there are normally up to 200 dogs in the shelter. Right now, there are about 50. 

Most of the shelter dogs are living with members of the community right now, who are giving them love and stress-free days until they are officially adopted.

“We had a very, positively overwhelming response from the community. I received about 70 to 80 foster applications a day, which is incredible,” said Maddie Bernstein, foster and rescue coordinator. “On a regular basis, I probably receive 10 a week.”

“It allows us to create space in the shelter so when we do have inevitable influxes of animals, we can have those empty kennels to be able place them in,” she said. “So if I put 15 dogs in foster care, I then have 15 extra kennels I can fill with new dogs and save more lives.”

The majority of animals in foster care are dogs, but a push will soon get underway to get as many of its 92 cats into the program as well.

So far, PSPCA said there have been no cases where pet owners have surrendered their animals to the shelter due to coronavirus-related issues, like unemployment or illness — but, the organization anticipates that to change. But with more space in the shelter thanks to the foster care program, they'll have space to accommodate the pets.