Charities based in Auckland are calling for foster families to care for homeless animals during the summer.
Closures and warm weather have led to many animals being rescued, and for the SPCA, that means an oversupply of rabbits.
“We’ve had rabbits that have waited over 20 days for foster care,” said Laura Miller, SPCA support services manager.
“These are days they could have spent in a loving family home.”
Foster homes operate as a temporary step between an animal’s arrival at a shelter and its adoption.
Rescues often have a network of foster families who will care for an animal for a short time until it is ready to go to forever homes.
They frequently care for the animal while it recovers from medical procedures or raises young.
“Animals don’t come to the SPCA because their lives are going so well, and the shelter isn’t the best environment for them either,” Miller said.
“Whenever possible, we try to place our animals in a loving foster home.”
Chained Dog Rehabilitation and Rescue recently had to issue an urgent appeal for foster families after receiving a large group of Pomeranian-Chihuahua mixes.
The group have been separated in pairs and shipped to foster homes, but trustee Amanda Fraser Jones said they will likely have to be separated further and require specialist care.
“We have 11 dogs that have been together their whole lives and they are terrified of the outside world. They have never been exposed to anything. So they are going to be tough.”
Fraser Jones said the charity needed people who could do the work required to foster adoption, rather than seeing it as a step towards adoption.
Other than that, the fostering criteria are very open – children, other pets or the lack of fences won’t stop people from having a dog, but Fraser Jones said that they had to be willing to learn and work with the dog.
The foster network has been invaluable and allowed the rescue to take in dogs at short notice, like Pomeranian-Chihuahua mixes, she said.
“We will sometimes have situations where we have to take a bunch of animals in one night or one day, so yeah, we just need foster homes, give them all to me.”