New Legislation Means LA Residents Could Be Paid to Foster Pets · The Wildest

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LA Residents Could Get Paid to Foster Pets

A new program aims to reduce overcrowding in shelters.

by Sio Hornbuckle
April 23, 2024
Woman holding brown chocolate lab dog.
valbar STUDIO / Stocksy

Fostering an animal is a rewarding (and really adorable) experience, but it takes work. Some pets have more needs than others, and even the easiest animals require a lot of attention and time — and treats. It all adds up. With shelters filling up, fosters are more in-demand than ever, but fostering isn’t the easiest economic decision for everyone.

In Los Angeles, local legislators are taking steps to make fostering an accessible choice for those who wish they could help if they had the funds. Friday, the LA City Council voted to move forward with a motion to remove some of the financial burden from potential fosters by implementing a pay-to-foster program. 

The mounting need for fosters in Los Angeles

Los Angeles animal shelters have been facing overcrowding issues for years now. Since 2022, over 1,000 animals have entered the LA shelter system each month, reported ABC7. The lack of shelter space leads to dogs being unnecessarily euthanized; each month, hundreds of dogs and cats in LA are euthanized.

Overcrowding also means animals aren’t given the lifestyle they deserve. Data published by the LA City Controller found that 51 dogs in LA shelters hadn’t been walked in a month, kennels were often left filthy, and some dogs received only 15 minutes of care daily. 

Fostering is one way to keep pets out of shelters and make space for more animals. Plus, it gives the fostered animals a higher quality of life with more individualized attention. “Our foster program is one of the best tools we have to get our animals out of the shelter, give them love and enrichment,” Councilwoman Eunisses Hernandez, the chair of the Neighborhoods and Community Enrichment Committee, told CBS

New legislation is moving forward

Knowing how important fostering is for the wellbeing of shelter animals, Councilwoman Hernandez introduced a motion to support fosters in the LA community financially by implementing a pay-to-foster program. “Many nonprofit organizations have instituted a stipend for their foster volunteers, which both compensates them for their vital work and incentivizes more people to join the program,” Hernandez told Westside Current

The motion passed unanimously. Friday, the LA City Council voted 13-0 to instruct the Department of Animal Services to gauge the efficiency of the city’s current foster program. The city administrative officer will also propose a monetary stipend for fosters. 

This is one piece of progress in a series of great strides. Earlier this month, the LA City Council voted to put a temporary moratorium on new breeding permits . The ban will be in place until shelters fall under 75 percent capacity. And thanks to increased efforts raising awareness for animal shelter conditions by activists and the city alike, the number of volunteers with the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services has almost doubled in recent months, per The Los Angeles Daily News.

“It’s going to take a multi-pronged strategy and creative approaches to decompress our shelters,” Hernandez told Westside Current.

Sio Hornbuckle

Sio Hornbuckle is a writer living in New York City with their cat, Toni Collette.

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