Wednesday, January 10, 2007
The New Hayward Foster Program and "The Kitten Equation"
Every year thousands of kittens are euthanized in Alameda county, mostly because our county and city shelters are not equipped to handle the influx of kittens during the aptly named "kitten season"- known to laymen as March through October.
During this time feral cats and owned cats are out gallavanting around, and the product of their freedom in the warm weather is the countless litters of orphaned, abandoned or surrendered kittens. At the East Bay SPCA we do our part by sending all the kittens too young to be spayed or neutered (for shelter animals, they need to be 2lbs. in order for the vets to perform the surgery) into foster homes. We have almost 200 active foster homes who take kittens (and puppies, and adult cats and dogs!) for us for up to 2 months at a time depending on how long the kittens need to reach the target weight. We fostered out almost 1000 animals last year, all thanks to our great foster parents. Unfortunately, even 200 foster homes brings us nowhere near saving every litter of kittens that ends up in a county shelter from euthanasia. The ones we can take, because of time and foster homes available (and shelter space) are put up for adoption in our shelter, living proof of the kind people in this county willing to spend time and money to take care of meowing, playful bundles of fur.
So "The kitten equation" is this:
Kittens at Animal Control- (Available foster homes & Open kennels)= the number of kittens left in the county shelter.
Our goal is to make the last number 0. Currently we have foster in the Tri-Valley area who pick up and drop off their kittens at the East Bay SPCA in Dublin, and fosters in the Oakland area who foster through our Oakland shelter, but we still need to reach more people. So we are starting a new program with Hayward Animal Services this year to open our foster program up to more foster homes, and hence, more kittens. I, as foster coordinator, will be in Hayward 2 days a week helping find foster homes in that area, along with our other two foster programs. The goal is to transfer a record number of kittens out of the Hayward shelter, into a loving foster home, and eventually to an adopter!
Please, if you live in the Hayward Area and would like to be a part of this new program to save the lives of hundreds of kittens, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, because together we can make that last number 0. For everyone who fosters already, you have my warmest thanks and I know a few thousand animals thank you as well, from the bottom of their hearts.