The following is from the Summer 2010 issue of Protecting Animals, American Humane’s quarterly journal for animal welfare professionals. Used by permission. To learn more, visit www.AmericanHumane.org.
In 2009, Animal Humane | New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM fostered 1,600 animals, 860 of which were kittens. Executive Director Peggy Weigle credits their huge foster network, which cares for bottle babies (including kittens and puppies), post-medical cases (e.g., heartworm) and pets with behavior issues (such as shyness) who would benefit from socialization. Weigle says when Animal Humane has the capacity, they also foster nursing moms with litters from the Albuquerque municipal shelter. The foster program is managed by a full-time foster care coordinator and an adoption counselor who devotes about half-time to the program.
Fosters are recruited from our volunteer pool and through our website. All fosters must pass a background check to ensure they have no convictions for animal or domestic abuse, then go through a standard volunteer orientation program followed by one-on-one guidance as needed from our foster coordinator.
We track all fosters on a spreadsheet and manage returns based on age, weight and availability of adoption cage space. In peak kitten season, we allocate four or five spaces for foster returns so the foster coordinator has some control over when the animals come back into the system. There are times when they have to stay in foster a bit longer until space opens up.
We ask for donations of food and supplies, and then fund the balance out of general operating funds.