3 Philadelphia animal shelters team up for critical pet foster program

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Local animal shelters in Philadelphia say they've been way over capacity for weeks.

This kind of overcrowding means there's less room for rescues and other sick and abandoned animals.

That's why, for the first time, Philadelphia's three main animal welfare agencies are teaming up for a life-saving campaign called "Foster A Philly Pet."

"We're looking for 500 new foster homes across our organizations to really help get those animals out of the shelters," said Aurora Velazquez, the executive director of ACCT Philly. "If less than 1% of Philadelphia households signed up to be fostered and brought an animal home, our shelters would be empty, and we would be able to save more lives."

ACCT Philly, PAWS, and the Pennsylvania SPCA are all working together to match the perfect foster pets with generous foster families.

The agencies say any amount of time you spare can make a huge difference.

"Sometimes folks say well, I only have two weeks, and then I'm going on vacation," said CEO Julie Klim of the Pennsylvania SPCA. "That two weeks could mean the world to a dog that gets out of the shelter and in a home. Their personality changes."

There's a variety of pets looking for some tender love and care inside of a welcoming home.

"We really try to match pets with the foster's skill set," said Melissa Levy, the executive director of PAWS. "We have fosters who have never had a pet before. We will match them with a pet that's appropriate to their level of experience and then provide all the advice and support along the way."

They say the overcrowding in shelters now is mostly pandemic-related.

The agencies say individuals interested can foster for any length of time, with each moment being critical in the life of these animals.

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