Not That Size Matters…

When I attended a workshop at the 2011 No Kill Conference that included Susanne Kogut on the panel, she mentioned that at the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA (where she was director at that time), 39% of intake went to foster.  In 2011, CASPCA took in 3828 dogs and cats.  That works out to nearly 1500 pets in foster care. Wikipedia has the combined population of the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle Co, both of which are served by CASPCA, at 118,398.

At the January 31 board of directors meeting of  New York City Animal Care and Control, Interim Executive Director Risa Weinstock addressed the subject of fostering.  She explained recent developments:

The AC&C has created a fast-track program just for fosters. Until recently, fosters had to take all the training courses expected of a shelter volunteer.  With the new streamlined process, Weinstock said the AC&C  recently added 17 new people who could be fosters.

Patrick Nolan, newly named Chairman of NYC ACC, spoke up to say that he was an approved foster himself and asked how many people the shelter has on the foster list.  Ms. Weinstock reportedly answered that there were 47 people on the foster list.  Bear in mind that 17 of them were just added under this new fast-track program.  So there were 30 until very recently.  And one of them is the chairman of the pound.  I am presuming the other 29 people are regular citizens but I don’t know.

NYC is home to more than 8 million people.  In the past couple of years, NYC ACC has been taking in roughly 30,000 animals a year.  If NYC ACC were to send 39% of intake out to foster like CASPCA does, that would indicate a need for about 11,700 foster placements.  But until recently, the pound had only found 29 people (who aren’t the chairman) willing to foster out of 8 million.  How hard are they looking?  How committed are they to saving pets’ lives?  Fostering is a key program in the No Kill Equation.  I wouldn’t recommend ignoring it.

So yeah, it’s great that NYC ACC’s new fast-track program has significantly increased the foster list.  But if NYC is aiming to one day save more than 90% of its pets like Charlottesville does every year, the pound is going to need a fastER-track program to develop any sort of foster program that will have a meaningful impact on lifesaving.  If anyone on the board is concerned with that.

(Thank you Anne D. for the link.)

16 thoughts on “Not That Size Matters…

  1. There’s no such thing as “fast track” in NYC when it comes to saving animals in the city shelter. The library gets money immediately as does the park system. But when it comes to saving sentient being this city leaks a tiny bit of money every year and fights and complains about every fucking dollar. I would love to know what more we can do. We all try to get the members of the DOH board to just look up at the ones speaking to them at the meetings and answer questions. But the board WILL NOT ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS. They avoid anyone outside the building who want to ask questions outside the venue. If the board members run from any questions what does that say? I long for the day that the board is swept clean and replaced with caring people who have the animal’s welfare at heart. As is stands now, animal welfare is not even on the radar.

    1. Anne, the basic fact of this is that any city, county, is operated on tax dollars collected from the whole citizenry, and in how they are spent, serving the largest parts of the needs of the whole citizenry has to be the goal. No matter how any individual, you, or members of that public poard, feel about caring for animals, the choices in allocation of funding out of tax dollars rightly should be toward meeting the most need for the grestest number of citizens. More people benefit by libraries and park than by animal sheltering. Allocating tax dollars to most citizens’ needs, and yes, wants, is as it should be. Emotional pleas such as ‘saving sentient beings’ is simply not appropriate or relevant to those decisions involving tax dollars.

      1. Wow, you’re all heart.

        NYCACC isn’t a public agency, they’re more of a public/private partnership. They’re capable of raising outside money, they just… don’t. Or can’t, depending on how you look at it.

        The Central Park Conservancy raises 85% of $45M/yr to run public Central Park from private sources. Similar concept.

        Tax money is generally disbursed not by need but to those with the largest and most powerful lobby.

  2. The whole “went to foster” thing is somewhat problematic itself. As one looks at the numbers mentioned above, the number of pets that “went to foster” divided by the number of approved fosters, some odd math starts to emerge. 1500 pets are in foster care, and not considering 17 new fosters just added, “fast tracked” as its worded, ie without training for the task, then those 30 fosters are harboring what? An average of 50 pets each? There is just something wrong with the math here.
    In years past, when I had kenneling and was in the day to day routine of caring for my own group of dogs, I agreed to foster for a couple breed rescues a few times. But never more than one or two at a time, even with proper kenneling, I was never willing to turn my place into a full size shelter operation! How does anyone manage to foster 50 pets, and give ANY of them even marginally adequate care? Even as a seriously devoted animals person, dog person with good kennel faciilities, I could never have even marginally that many!
    If there was one single problem I encountered offering to foster pets that caused me to disentangle myself from the pets I had taken on to foster, never to accept another, it was that I found myself having to disentangle myself from those fostered pets to begin with. By disentangle, I mean that I had to quite bluntly and with refusal to continue to take ‘no’ for an answer, literally haul the pets back to those working at the core of the rescue group, several times hundred of miles drive away, and leave them despite protest, with hard feelings all around. What i found myself into, every time, was a sitatuation where there was constant pressure, with sigificant guilt-tripping tactics, to take even more, just one more here, one more there, but we are desperate, we HAVE to find a place for this one……and that while there was always more to come in, getting any OUT was just not happening! I found myself “fostering” dogs for months, even over a year, with never a single potential adopted being sent our way….the rescue was taking in new ones so fast, potential adopters were FIRST shown those new intakes, for which no fosters were yet found. In the intent to foster, I found I was being expected to, for practical purposes, have ADOPTED. And this has been the problem for pretty much anyone I’ve met that has given fostering a try.
    So what’s the point of boasting how many pets, what’s the percentage of their intake, the shelter has gotten into foster? Pets out in foster ARE NOT ADOPTED OUT! Makes the shelters number look better if all those in foster aren’t actually living in the actual shelter facility, but those in foster should still be counted as pets that shelter has, and has not placed into homes of new owners.

    1. to add a thought…if there are shelters putting out numbers of pets like that, as in this case, an average of 50 pets per foster, is that system actually creating and maintaining countless numbers of “animal hoarding” situations out there, mant in private homes with no proper kennel faciities for keeping large numbers of pets properly?

      1. mikken and melissa, you are correct. I misused the numbers, not by intent to misuse, but should have thought it through better. As for fosters being stuck for indeterminate periods in foster, if it were just my own few personal experiences, I’d be able to cosinder maybe they weren’t typical or common. Observing experiences of others’ experiences, however, won’t let me dismiss it that easily. If any of you or others are in relation to operations that do get the pets moved through foster into home efficiently, that’s wonderful. But just as you ask I not consider all that way because of my experience, please don’t assume all are the opposite, because of your experiences. I am aware of people in such awkward and uncomfortable situations involving fosting even now. All is not paradise in the fostering situation.

      2. It occurs to me that there may be some difference in fostering situations directly related to the different situations with numbers of animals involved in shelter/rescues is different areas of the country. I’ve been surpised to recently learn some areas are actual “short” on adoptable pets, therefore turning to transport large numbers of pets from areas with larger numbers of unwanted pets. I didn’t know there was so much difference in that from one area of the country to another. Perhaps that I am in an area with significant ‘surpluses’ of unwanted pets constantly going into shelters and pounds and rescues, it makes for a situation in which it is more difficult to get them moved through fosters and into homes than might be the case in some area dealing with smaller numbers.
        I am not intending to troll. I’ve really not been aware of a lot of what has gone on in recent years in these situations.

    2. Jenell, you missed the fact that Shirley’s talking about two different shelter systems – one in Charlottesville and one in NYC.

      1. mikken, I think its safe to assume if a city the size of NYC has only 30 fosters, the much smaller town mentioned isn’t going to have even that many, i was using the NYC number 30 to be generous in the estimate how many pets are in the avg foster home in the smaller town. Its likely far larger than 50 per foster. And bottom line is still, in foster is not adopted out. Pets in foster are STILL part of the shelter’s population, even if being housed “off-site.”

      2. This is not at all how math works.

        There was no mention of the number of fosters in Charlottesville. You don’t just get to randomly jumble numbers together from disparate shelter systems. How in the world do you arrive at “50 pets per foster”? In which city? You can’t calculate that without the number of fosters in Charlottesville, which isn’t given, or the number of animals in New York City, which isn’t given. Your speculation about “hoarding” is irresponsible and baseless. You don’t get to make numbers up.

        It is NOT safe to assume that a smaller city won’t have as many fosters as NYC. Charlottesville adheres to the No Kill Equation where fosters are considered a key factor in lifesaving and are aggressively recruited. New York City does not and actively discourages people who want to foster for them (which was part of the actual point of this post that seems to have eluded you). There are small private shelters in the NYC area with considerably more foster families than 30 at less than 1/10 of the intake: they look for them.

      3. It’s also not safe to assume that all those fostered pets in Charlottesville are not being adopted out. Just because you had a bad experience with a rescue not doing its job does not mean that is how pet fostering “works”. When I was involved in fostering dogs, they placed quickly, unless the dog in question had major behavioral issues and needed work and an understanding home. Most of my dogs were in their new home within a week or two, some placed the first time I brought them to adoption events, and these were not small or purebred dogs. My experience fostering litters of kittens went quite well also. I had groups of 2-4 kittens, one group at a time, and they usually were placed within 2-4 weeks (they were underage for neuter when I got them as “gruel babies”). The last year I fostered kittens was for 4 months in 2010-2011, and in that time, fostering one litter/pair/group (never more than 4) at a time, I was able to foster a total of 22 kittens. If I kept that up for a whole year, I could’ve fostered well over 50 kittens, and not all at once by any means.

    3. In places such as Austin and the Seattle area, there are large rescues that have 1000+ fosters so with a number of 1,500 that would work out to 1 to 2 pets per foster per year. Some rescues are better than others at minimizing animals length of stay. For a city as large at NYC to only have 30 fosters, there is clearly something wrong. I have fostered for several rescues and even the larger ones would require only 1 orientation for a few hours (more training required to foster behavioral dogs, if that is option. At some places, it is not).

  3. Bottom line for NYC ACC is that they don’t care about the animals and prefer to kill them. If not for the efforts of UP2, PODR and NYC rescues, thousands more pets would die each year. The DOH, NYC ACC BOD, and NYC ACC head honchos have yet to show themselves as giving a damn, and really putting forth effort to save lives. At the meeting, Weinstock flat out lied about the shelter operations immediately following Hurricane Sandy. I would trust her (and the other powers that be) about as much as I would trust an angry rattler or gator.

  4. Jenell – You mentioned in the previous post that you don’t like to have your feed clogged with numerous posts. Physician, heal thyself.

    I honestly can’t tell if you are trolling out of ignorance, poor comprehension & communication skills, or just for fun. But make no mistake – you are trolling. And that is not allowed here. Please consider this a friendly, one time warning to cease and desist.

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