A record number of San Diegans have stepped up to help animals in need of loving foster homes and the San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) is using that momentum as they participate in a nationwide pilot program to get more animals adopted.
SDHS is one of 12 shelters that will participate in the program that aims to get animals into their forever families with a quicker process.
The Human Animal Support Services program gives people all the tools they need to help keep their pets in their homes by providing them with food, supplies and medical care if they need it.
It also has a big emphasis on using social media like the Nextdoor app to try to reunite pets with their owners before they're even brought into the Humane Society.
The number of intakes at San Diego Humane Society has changed dramatically year over year, especially during the pandemic.
“We only have a chance if it’s a dog of maybe getting 40 percent of those dogs back home once they’re in a shelter," said Gary Weitzman, President and CEO, San Diego Humane Society. "If it’s a cat, it’s terrible; it’s less than 5 percent. If we can keep those animals in the neighborhood that they’re lost in, they have a much better chance with our help and the communities, of getting back in their families."
In the last three months, the animal shelter has had 50 to 75% of their animals in foster care -- a record percentage that's offered a glimmer of hope amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In April of 2019, there were about 3,500 intakes at the shelter. But in April of this year, there were just 1,500. In any given year, they have maybe 500-1,000 animals in foster homes and so far, people have really stepped up to the task.
Having so many shelter animals in foster homes makes it easier on the volunteers and workers with socially distancing.
Right now, the San Diego Humane Society has about 2,500 companion animals in need of a foster. Organizers are always loving individuals who would open their homes for a family in need or who are interested in volunteering.
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