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Pet fostering surges at IndyHumane during COVID-19 pandemic

Over 400 new Hoosier families have signed up to foster with IndyHumane since March 20
Posted at 2:00 PM, Jun 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-11 14:02:41-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The IndyHumane Foster Program has seen a dramatic increase in families signing up to foster since the coronavirus pandemic ensued.

In less than three months, over 425 animals have found foster homes through IndyHumane.


"Overall, we're very happy with the public response and our successful adoptions during the COVID pandemic," Hayley Wolf, IndyHumane's Marketing Coordinator, said. "We're also so grateful for all our amazing foster program families, who generously stepped up to help house the majority of our adoptable animals during the past few months, which enabled us to more efficiently care for the animals at the shelter in need of behavioral care or urgent medical treatment."

Foster, adoption, and volunteer programs at humane societies across the nation are skyrocketing since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. People have been forced to remain socially distant and have lacked companionship as a result, or have much more time on their hands.

Although fostering has dramatically increased at IndyHumane, adoptions at the animal shelter have actually seen a slight decrease compared to last year.

"We have seen a dip in adoptions since March, as COVID-19 caused us to close to the public and switch to an online application and appointment-only model so we could adhere to new social distancing measures and health guidelines," Wolf said.

And that drop in pet adoptions appears to be the case across the board since March. According to Quartz, cat and dog adoptions have actually decreased by about a third compared to the same period last year.

At this point last year, IndyHumane had 1,377 pets adopted. As of June 11 this year, IndyHumane has had 1,121 adoptions.


Indy Humane's Adoption Numbers:

  • March 2020: 219
  • April 2020: 157
  • May 2020: 144
  • YTD 2020: 1,121
    • *vs. 2019: 1,377
  • March–June 11, 2020: 585
    • *vs. March-June 2019: 899

Although many animals are not in the shelter right now due to being with foster families, that doesn't guarantee adoption. Studies predict that adoption rates will go back up once virtual adoptions — which were instituted by several programs forced to shut their doors during the coronavirus pandemic — slow down and families can physically walk through the shelters.

"It didn't take long for folks to adjust to the new adoption process, and it's been great to be able to continue sending animals to loving homes throughout this pandemic," Wolf said. "Our new protocol helps us minimize patrons in the building, lessening potential exposure for our staff and volunteers and best manage our time to continue caring for the animals."

Adoptions by Appointment with Completed Application
Vaccine Hours - Appointments Needed