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No-kill animal shelter group seeking short-term foster homes

ELIZABETH HEFFNER
Staff Writer

A local nonprofit group is working hard to help Lincoln County’s homeless animals.
Helping Animals To Survive, or HATS, is looking for immediate short-term, temporary foster volunteers in the community.
According to a HATS press release, Lincoln County Animals Services is currently at maximum capacity and is in need of assistance to save animals’ lives. The non-profit was formally known as the grassroots group, Make Lincoln County No-Kill. Last fall, the Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to direct Lincoln County Animals Services to implement the No Kill Equation to become a No Kill facility, where at least 90 percent of the animals entering the shelter leave the facility alive.
According to their website, after the county’s board of commissioners voted for Lincoln County Animals Services to become a No Kill Shelter, HATS was formed.
“When the shelter is full and rescue groups or non-local adopters express interest in particular dogs or cats, they rely on temporary fosters being readily available and waiting,” HATS foster Program Team Leader Renee Toneske said in a press release.
“The greater the number of animals that need to get out of Lincoln County, the more temporary fosters we need in place in advance. A temporary foster acts as a ‘bridge of time’ between LCAS and the rescue group or non-local adopter by providing additional time for the coordination of transporting the animal. Fostering also provides the opportunity to teach the animal better social skills and to help build confidence, both factors that can be negatively affected by being at the shelter.”
Toneske explained that temporary fostering also frees up valuable kennel space at the facility, allowing animals in the back of the shelter to be moved to kennels in the adoption area for public viewing, thereby increasing adoption rates.
“By increasing the number of HATS temporary fosters, more rescue groups and non-local adopters are able to pull dogs and cats from LCAS, because they know temporary fosters are in place, ready and waiting,” she said.
Currently, HATS has 12 volunteer fosters across the county. According to the non-profit’s website, HATS temporary foster volunteers “must be over the age of 18, own their home or have consent of their landlord to have animals, including payment of any required deposits and agree to keep the foster dog or cat inside their home. In addition, any current family pet(s) of a HATS foster needs to be current on vaccines as well as be spayed/neutered. Special experience with particular animal types may also be required.”
“If we really want to be a No Kill community, then temporary fostering is one of the best ways to get involved,” HATS foster volunteer Whitney Snyder said.
“The time commitment is short, and what you get back for what you give is a hundred fold. It’s such a great feeling knowing you directly helped save an animal’s life.”
Those interested in learning more about HATS and its fostering program should email info@hatsalive.org or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MakeLincolnCountyNoKill.

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