There have been stories about animal shelters being emptied of pets during Covid19 and a national dog shortage.The impact is regional and not affecting SE Texas where the Houston SPCA still has critters looking for a forever home. They have dogs! And puppies. And cats and kittens.
Which isn’t to say there wasn’t a rush of Houstonians who stepped up to help in a time of need.“We had close to 300 people fostering for us, which was amazing!” says Julie Kuenstle with the Houston SPCA. She says they’ve been preparing for those fosters to start coming back, recognizing that some are going to be “foster fails.” The families sometimes build unbreakable bonds and decide ultimately to adopt the pet they’ve come to love, the SPCA implementing a “foster-to-adopt” program in recognition of that possibility.
Montgomery County was able to place their animals either in permanent of foster homes, and has starting accepting in-takes. The Houston SPCA has reopened adoptions, slowly, carefully, says Kuenstle. “We’re doing it curbside, taking 12 appointments from 10 to 3 daily,” she says. Animals also continue to come in through emergency services, which when processed are included on the website. They are still considering Summer Critter Camp, and will decide this week if they can be held in July and August later this week, June already having been cancelled.
Kuenstle says “Bottle Baby Season” is producing an influx of 900 more wild animals than they saw this time last year, averaging 60-90 additions a day during the Covid months. People are walking and hiking more than normal, and noticing wild animals in distress, which are finding care and comfort at the SPCA.
Fort Bend County has resumed accepting turn-ins, but only by appointment.
Nationally, the number of animals in foster care, based on a survey of 1,200 animal organizations, is 43% higher now than this time last year. They are still always grateful for foster families, and are now finding ways to transition to more permanent arrangements. Kuenstle says their organization is dependent on donations and the kindness of strangers as well as their cadre of faithful supporters and donors, who they’ve tried to keep appraised of developments as circumstances change month to month.
To see the animals available for adoption at the Houston SPCA, go here.
photos - getty images