SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Animal Care Services needs more foster parents amid the coronavirus pandemic. Since the virus struck our area, ACS has had to make adaptations to protect its staff and people wanting to help.
“We have changed how we work on campus,” said Candace Harrington, rescue foster supervisor. “All of our fosters and rescue partners have to sign up online to make an appointment, and everyone has to wear face masks in order to come onto campus as well.”
Harrington said they have even changed the way they take in animals at this time.
“All of our animal intake is through our field officers, through trapped and confined calls, bite cases and stuff like that," Harrington said. "Otherwise, our front intake is completely closed, so we are not really doing surrenders unless it is a serious case and we need to.”
Because of this change, Harrington said there may be an increase in the stray animal population on the streets.
“We just have a large dog population here, so it is hard to say at this point, but I am sure once we get more data further along, we may see an increase,” Harrington said.
Change in their operations means a change in rescue operations as a whole.
“Because we are not having as many people that we would generally have coming on campus and adopting animals, a lot of our rescue partners are not able to help because they are dealing with issues with having to adopt animals out. That slow down is causing us to slow down," Harrington said.
Sadly, that means it is a waiting game for animals at the shelter.
“That takes up space, and the more animals take up space, the more the possibility of us having to euthanize for space, which is devastating,” Harrington said. “If we reach overcapacity, we have to make those hard choices of who gets euthanized. We only have so many kennels, which is why we need to find placement as soon as possible.”
At this time, ACS is not at capacity and has 150 animals in foster care, but with it being puppy and kitten season, the staff may face difficult times if not enough fosters step up.
“Fostering an animal gives people something to depend on and helps cope with all of this stuff that is going on,” Harrington said. “Having an animal companion makes a world of a difference. If you foster, we will supply everything you need, including food, medical, toys and stuff like that.”
People interested in fostering must be at least 18 years or older and fill out an application online. Harrington said ACS especially needs fosters for older dogs and mother dogs with puppies.
“Everyone who is willing to step forward and help, we are, like, ‘You are a hero,’” Harrington said. “We are very grateful for them. We are so grateful our community is behind us during this stressful and uncertain time. All of these animals can be safe and adopted.”
One person who stepped up and fostered a dog mother and her puppies is Jessica Santos. She took home the mom and eight of her puppies.
“As soon as I saw the need at ACS, I knew I had to help out. Personally, I still feel like I am able to still do something. While everybody is still stuck at home and can’t do anything, I feel like I am still able to help out and be there for the community and animals that need our help," Santos said. "Besides, moms and babies shouldn’t be on the cold floor in cages. They should be in a nice loving home so they can get adopted out when they are old enough.”