EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) -- As COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease and more start to travel, local animal shelters are finding themselves in critical need of more fosters.
The holidays may be merry, but they are also a time of concern for animal shelters, especially now that the pandemic restrictions are easing up.
"Now that things are starting to open up a bit more, our foster volunteers are traveling or will be spending the holidays with their families," San Diego Humane Society Sr. Vice President and Chief Operational Officer Jessica Des Lauriers said.
Des Lauriers said last year, during the lockdown, hundreds of San Diegans opened their homes and hearts to foster pets. On Nov 9, 2019, there were 477 adoptable animals. On Nov 9, 2020, there were only 280. This year, they are back up to 480.
"We had about 70% of animals in the very beginning in foster care," Des Lauriers said.
Plus, since April 2020, the shelters had to stop their low-cost community spay and neuter clinics due to PPE and staffing shortages, and visitor capacity limits.
"Animals are multiplying very quickly, and families are feeling overwhelmed, so they are having to relinquish those small pets," Des Lauriers said.
Despite the seasonal drop in available foster families and the exponential increase in small animals, the Humane Society's mission to build a robust foster system remains strong.
"We want to support people who have been impacted by hardships, maybe needing to move, and not wanting to relinquish their pet," Des Lauriers said. "But just need a little bit of time to figure things out so they can be reunited with their family member."
Fostering commitments can be anywhere between 30 to 90 days.
"Just give the animal kind of a slumber party," Des Lauriers said. "A break from the shelter and just having a snapshot in time on paving the way for their home that they are going to find."
Low-cost community spay and neuter clinics are slowly opening back up at the San Diego Humane Society. For information on how you can become a foster family, click HERE.