When I attended a workshop at the 2011 No Kill Conference that included Susanne Kogut on the panel, she mentioned that at the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA (where she was director at that time), 39% of intake went to foster. In 2011, CASPCA took in 3828 dogs and cats. That works out to nearly 1500 pets in foster care. Wikipedia has the combined population of the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle Co, both of which are served by CASPCA, at 118,398.
At the January 31 board of directors meeting of New York City Animal Care and Control, Interim Executive Director Risa Weinstock addressed the subject of fostering. She explained recent developments:
The AC&C has created a fast-track program just for fosters. Until recently, fosters had to take all the training courses expected of a shelter volunteer. With the new streamlined process, Weinstock said the AC&C recently added 17 new people who could be fosters.
Patrick Nolan, newly named Chairman of NYC ACC, spoke up to say that he was an approved foster himself and asked how many people the shelter has on the foster list. Ms. Weinstock reportedly answered that there were 47 people on the foster list. Bear in mind that 17 of them were just added under this new fast-track program. So there were 30 until very recently. And one of them is the chairman of the pound. I am presuming the other 29 people are regular citizens but I don’t know.
NYC is home to more than 8 million people. In the past couple of years, NYC ACC has been taking in roughly 30,000 animals a year. If NYC ACC were to send 39% of intake out to foster like CASPCA does, that would indicate a need for about 11,700 foster placements. But until recently, the pound had only found 29 people (who aren’t the chairman) willing to foster out of 8 million. How hard are they looking? How committed are they to saving pets’ lives? Fostering is a key program in the No Kill Equation. I wouldn’t recommend ignoring it.
So yeah, it’s great that NYC ACC’s new fast-track program has significantly increased the foster list. But if NYC is aiming to one day save more than 90% of its pets like Charlottesville does every year, the pound is going to need a fastER-track program to develop any sort of foster program that will have a meaningful impact on lifesaving. If anyone on the board is concerned with that.
(Thank you Anne D. for the link.)