Animal services starts foster care placing pets in temporary homes for owners

LaShaundria Bennett returned to Lifeline Animal Services Project to pick-up her dogs from foster care. Nikki is a Shih Tzu and Yorkie mix and Ben is a pit bull. Photo courtesy of Lifeline

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LaShaundria Bennett returned to Lifeline Animal Services Project to pick-up her dogs from foster care. Nikki is a Shih Tzu and Yorkie mix and Ben is a pit bull. Photo courtesy of Lifeline

A nonprofit animal shelter started a free foster care program that places pets in temporary homes to help owners experiencing hardship.

Lifeline Animal Project’s Safety Net Fostering Program was set up to provide pet owners time to work through a job or personal crisis without having to give up their dog or cat, spokeswoman Karen Hirsch said. The program is a resource for people with sudden medical or financial needs or other problems, Hirsch said.

Lifeline, which manages animal control services for Fulton and DeKalb counties, started the program last summer and 10 pets have been fostered so far, Hirsch said.

Lifeline placed LaShondria Bennett’s four dogs in two foster homes in February when she and her husband were evicted from their Atlanta apartment. Nikki, a Shih Tzu and Yorkie mix, and Ben, a pit bull, as well as their two puppy offspring lived in temporary homes for about two weeks, Bennett said.

“I was fearful of being away from them at first but it was a great opportunity,” Bennett said.

The cosmetology school student, said she and her husband moved to a new home and their pets came home on March 1.

A woman recovering from a stroke placed her dog, Brutus, in the foster program for 30 days. She received photo and video updates on Brutus from Lifeline until he returned home last week, a Lifeline statement said.

“In the past, people would sometimes come in crying because they had to give up their pets due to a hardship,” name Kimble Sorrells, a manager with Fulton County Animal Services said. “Through our Safety Net program, people are no longer forced to do that, allowing at least one big stressor to be removed from their lives.”

Pet owners can apply to have the program accept their pet by providing information on Lifeline’s website or by calling the animal services project. The fostering period is 30 days but can be extended if necessary. “We don’t want to put a pet in foster care for a year,” she said,