Animal shelters filling up, asking families to foster or adopt

Aug 23, 2021, 11:32 PM | Updated: Jul 14, 2023, 3:11 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Animal shelters and rescue centers have reached maximum capacity in Utah and across the country — a problem made worse by staffing shortages.

In the Beehive State, there are hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats ready for adoption, and the number is higher this year.

“I’m taking two little kittens to go home and bottle feed and foster,” said Margo Parr who started fostering families last week.

She had her first litter of kittens for a week.

She said she was thrilled to get the call this week that she was needed again.

“They actually reached out to me and said, ‘Hey, we have some for you,’ so I was excited,” she said.

Temma Martin has worked with animal welfare since the early 90s.

It’a job she takes very seriously.

With Best Friends Animal Society, a no kill organization, Martin works with nearly 60 shelters and rescue centers across the state.

She said the number of dogs and cats in the shelters is up after record fosters and adoptions in 2020.

At the onset of the pandemic, people flocked to shelters to take pets home.

“In the first week or so, there was a 93 percent increase in people taking animals in to foster,” said Martin.

Many of those families adopted the pets, but others didn’t. And now, with people headed back to the office, those animals are coming back into care.

To make matters worse, many shelters can’t staff positions.

That combo has increased the need for families to take in the animals that need homes.

Martin said while she can’t say for sure if the pandemic is the reason more pets are in shelters, she can say the need for foster and adoptive families will never go away.

“The bottom line is, no matter what is happening with the pandemic, there is an ongoing need for foster homes and for people to adopt from shelters or rescue groups,” she said.

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Animal shelters filling up, asking families to foster or adopt