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Fostering animals saves lives

This kitten will soon be part of the Oklahoma City Animal Welfare's foster program. [Photo Provided]
This kitten will soon be part of the Oklahoma City Animal Welfare's foster program. [Photo Provided]

It’s that time of year! In just a few weeks, Oklahoma City Animal Welfare will be busting at the seams with puppies and kittens.

Spring is mating season, and litter after litter comes through the shelter doors, especially kittens. In 2016, more than 3,700 kittens came into the shelter with nearly two-thirds of those coming in between the months of April and August.

Many of these puppies and kittens are too small to make available for adoption. Getting them out of the shelter as soon as possible is a priority. Their immune systems are weak, and illness can spread quickly. Many of them are unweaned and need to be bottle fed for several weeks. This can be overwhelming for shelter staff, and there just isn’t enough time or space to care for all of them in the shelter environment.

The good news is the shelter has a program to help care for them. The shelter’s foster program is vital in saving the lives of these animals. In 2016, about 1,800 animals were saved through this program.

There are 200 to 300 animals in foster homes at any given time during this peak season. The shelter provides everything the foster home needs, from food to any necessary vet care. In most cases, the animals only need a couple of weeks to grow and become healthy, and then they can return to the shelter for adoption. The shelter also provides training in the proper care so there is no experience necessary.

This program is very rewarding for the foster parents and helps teach the importance of spaying and neutering.

The shelter has a great need for more foster homes. The process is easy, and once approved you can be ready to foster in just a few short days, and in some cases you can be ready the same day. You can apply in person at the shelter or online at www.okc.gov/animalwelfare.

For more information on the program, e-mail the foster coordinator at awfosters@okc.gov. If you are unable to foster but would like to help the pet overpopulation problem in Oklahoma City, consider donating through our website at www.okc.gov/animalwelfare.

Oklahoma City residents can have their pet spayed or neutered at no cost by contacting the community spay neuter program at (405) 316-3663, or e-mail awcommunityprograms@okc.gov.

To find out more about Oklahoma City Animal Welfare, visit the shelter at 2811 SE 29 St. or visit the website at www.okc.gov/animalwelfare

Jonathan Gary

Jonathan Gary is Oklahoma City Animal Welfare superintendent. He has worked at Oklahoma City Animal Welfare for 18 years, working in all areas of operation leading up to his promotion to superintendent in August 2016. Read more ›

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