FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LA Animal Services Media Contacts: 
Agnes Sibal-von Debschitz, (213) 482-9512 or agnes.sibal@lacity.org
Justin Khosrowabadi, (213) 482-9551 or justin.khosrowabadi@lacity.org
Safety Net Foster Program at LA Animal Services Aims to Keep More Families Together
Los Angeles, May 7, 2021 – LA Animal Services has launched the Safety Net Foster Program for LA City residents facing a crisis and needing short-term housing for their pet. Angelenos consider pets to be a part of the family, and while there are resources for people requiring assistance, there are few opportunities for pets to be included in the plan for overcoming housing insecurity.

Oftentimes, when pet families experience hardships that may be due to financial instability, domestic violence, loss of housing, incarceration or hospitalization, giving up their beloved pet to a shelter may seem the only option. Now, with the Safety Net Foster Program, LA Animal Services can match these pets with a foster family, giving pet owners the time that they need to address and resolve their crisis, with the knowledge that they’ll be able to reunite with their pet, once they’ve back on their feet.

“The goal of the Safety Net Foster Program is to keep families and their pets together,” said Brenda Barnette, General Manager for LA Animal Services. “With the ongoing eviction crisis and financial impacts of COVID-19, programs like the Safety Net Foster Program will illustrate that a home is not defined by a roof and four walls, but rather, where your family is, both human and animal family members alike. Through this program, we aim to continue to support the human-animal bond, remove barriers to pet ownership and companionship, and offer proactive solutions to pet owners who may need our help the most.”

LA Animal Services is one of just 18 animal shelters selected to participate in the Arizona State University/Virginia Tech Maddie’s Nationwide Fostering Study. As part of the study, shelters receive extensive training on how to successfully implement and manage safety net fostering programs along with support for shelter staff that are directly assisting pet-owning families that are experiencing hardship. Together, the Safety Net Foster Program, will allow for a better understanding of the needs of our pet-owning community and contribute to innovative, evidence-based practices in animal sheltering that are keeping people and their pets together.

Apply for Temporary Foster Care for Your Pet

Pet owners looking for temporary care for their pet can contact ani.foster@lacity.org.

How the Safety Net Foster Program Works

Pets will stay in a comfortable and loving foster home, while LA Animal Services’ volunteer case managers maintain regular, weekly check-in’s with the pet’s owner to see how they’re doing, providing updates, like photos and videos provided by the foster family, and connect pet owners to other community resources, if needed.
  
There are no costs associated with this program for the pet owner. Thanks to the lifesaving grant from Petco Love, LA Animal Services will be able to provide any needed support to the pet, during its stay with a foster family. 

You Can Help: Become a Safety Net Foster Parent

Our ability to assist pet owners seeking help is largely dependent on our pet foster community and the number of foster homes we have available. If you are able to foster a pet in need in 30-day increments, please contact LA Animal Services Supervisor, Thomas Kalinowski at thomas.kalinowski@lacity.org.

Foster families receive all the necessary supplies for the care of fostered pets and will conduct weekly check-ins with the LA Animal Services team. Pet owners and their foster families do not directly communicate with each other during the program, and instead, all communication is conducted by LA Animal Services’ Safety Net Foster Program volunteer case managers.

The Safety Net Foster Program provides a critical resource for pet families in our community. Angelenos consider pets to be a part of the family, and while there are resources for people in crisis, there are often few opportunities for pets to be included in the plan for overcoming housing insecurity.

The Safety Net Foster Program is a part of the Human Animal Support Services, an international coalition of animal services leaders and more than 30 pilot organizations, including LA Animal Services, focused on keeping families and their pets together.

To become a foster parent with LA Animal Services or to learn more about our foster program, please visit: laanimalservices.com/volunteer/foster-program
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LA Animal Services promotes and protects the health, safety, and welfare of animals and the people who love them, and is one of the largest municipal shelter systems in the United States. With six Centers across the City, LA Animal Services serves approximately 60,000 animals annually and responds to 20,000 emergency calls involving animals or people in danger. LA Animal Services is part of the Human Animal Support Services (HASS) international coalition, joining 38 municipal shelters and animal welfare organizations across the country to reimagine and transform the way shelters care for animals and their families, by offering access to resources to help keep families together; getting lost pets home quickly without having to enter the shelter system; providing food and medical assistance; and continuing to build on a strong adoption and foster program so pets find their permanent homes or are placed in foster care. Visit our link.tree for helpful links to the services and resources available to you and your companion animals. Connect with LA Animal Services and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
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