L.A. County animal shelters overloaded, looking for people to foster and adopt pets

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Many animal shelters have temporarily closed their doors amid the coronavirus pandemic but officials are urging people to make appointments to adopt or temporarily foster the overwhelming number of animals in their care.

Although the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control decided to temporarily shut down its seven locations, shelters are still taking care of pets and are hoping to find homes for them — even if it's temporary.

When the department closed its doors, it reached out to more than 400 adoption partners, asking for help getting the animals out of the shelter and into homes.

"Since everybody's doing the social distancing and spending so much time in their homes, it's a great opportunity to bring an animal into your home and foster it," Frank Corvino, deputy director of the county's Department of Animal Care and Control, said.

The department created a five-step "quick foster program" to help the overwhelming numbers of animals in its care get adopted.

"Literally, pull into the care center. You don't even have to get out of your car and we give you the animal and the supplies for the fostering," Corvino said.

The county has dedicated staff to help with incoming foster applications so it can get animals out of the shelters and into homes quickly.

L.A. Animal Services also decided to shut down its six city shelters and limit the number of people in the buildings due to the mayor's strict safety guidelines.

"We want people to know that we do have staff on hand 24/7 who are there with the animals," said Agnes Sibal-Von Debschitz of the city agency. "They're still being taken care of."

However, animals that are severely ill or injured are at risk of getting euthanized.

Like the county department, the city's Animal Services is also looking for people to foster and adopt pets, particularly for medium-to-large dogs. Completed applications can be emailed to ani.volunteers@lacity.org.

Those who find a pet while the shelters are closed are being asked to try to keep them if they can. The county asks people to post the pet on the Shadow app. Animal Services has a "Shelter-at-Home" program.

Animals Services says that if a pet is sick, injured or is left behind when the owner passes away, the agency will take the animal by appointment only.

Those who find themselves out of work and cannot afford pet food can email hello@modernbeast.com.

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