Bay Area animal shelters ramping up foster programs amid coronavirus pandemic

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- As officials order a shelter-in-place for seven Bay Area counties, a four-legged companion could be the purr-fect solution to cure the loneliness.

Many animal shelters are having to halt all public-facing operations, especially adoptions.

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"Many shelters are ramping up foster programs," said Karalyn Aronow, Vice President of Operations at the East Bay SPCA.

"Shelters are trying to get their animals into foster homes during this time when people are at home and have extra time to spend with a foster dog or cat," she said.

Since there is uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, animal shelters are concerned about when they will be able to move animals into permanent homes.

"At the East Bay SPCA we are working at a skeleton staffing crew," said Aronow. "We only have a handful of animal care workers here to provide fantastic care in our shelter."

Fostering an animal is open to anyone. The East Bay SPCA matches an animal with a foster home based on life circumstances and the family's needs.

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The benefits of fostering animals are numerous.

"Right now people are feeling isolated and having a pet is wonderful. You can take them out for walks but also having a sense of companionship in your home," said Aronow.

"For the shelter animals, it gives them that break from the shelter setting. Getting the animals into a home-like setting where they can interact with humans all day is really beneficial for their mental well-being."

East Bay SPCA is a non-profit organization and is hoping for monetary donations since they had to pause public-facing services.

To donate or foster an animal visit, their website.

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