Foster families needed to help full animal shelters


WACO, Texas – The Humane Society of Central Texas has issued a Code Red because they have reached maximum capacity again – and they aren’t alone.

The reason is partly due to the pandemic or owners not being able to care for the animals.

Paula Rivadeneira is the Executive Director of the Humane Society of Central Texas, and she says fostering will help.

“If we can get people to come in and foster animals,” Rivadeneira said. “If you can foster for five days, it can make a world of difference for us here at the shelter. So that is the best way to empty our shelter.”

Rivadeneira says people experiencing financial hardship is part of the reason the shelter is full, or people bringing in stray animals.

“We want the public to really be our partner and only bring in stray animals that are sick or injured,” Rivadeneira said.

Although the shelter issued a Code Red a few weeks ago, she says fostering will help – but if they run out of space, some of the animals who have been there the longest will be euthanized.

Rivadeneira says data nationwide has proven foster programs work to empty shelters.

“We think that about 80-85 percent of our animals that go into foster care go straight to adoption after that,” Rivadeneira said.

This is what happened to one lucky dog, “Gatsby,” who was adopted by his foster parents Kyle Wilhelm and Bri Pham on Friday.

They say he became part of the family, and they could not bear to bring him back.

“Fostering is just amazing. It really does so much for the animals, even if you don’t adopt them,” Wilhelm said. “The amount of change that we saw in the dogs that we fostered is insane.”

Wilhelm says even a few days in a loving home makes a difference.

Rivadeneira says they provide all the resources people need to they never have to feel alone.

“We will take care of giving you a crate. If you need one to house the dog when you are not home, food, supplies, whatever you need for you to be able to come in and take an animal,” Rivadeneira said.

Killeen Animal Shelter is also nearing capacity, so it is offering free adoptions this weekend.

They are also in need of foster families and volunteers for the summer. To learn more, you can sign up online or call 254-526-4455.

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