How to Foster Care Pets for People in Jail

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What happens to the pets of people who go to prison? I have been arrested, what happens to my pet? How can I help people by becoming a foster home for pets? What happens to their dog when a person is arrested? Is their any way I can foster care pets f

Imagine being arrested, as the police drag you from your home you look back and see the confused look on your dog's face. What will happen to the dog? Well, unless you have a friend or family member who can take it, or can pay for it to go to a boarding kennel, the pet will probably end up at the local animal shelter. Depending on the length of your incarceration, the pet may not be there when you get released.

Okay, so you are not a Criminal

Now you might not agree with the crime a person did, but their pet should not suffer because of it. Shelters are forced to euthanize thousands of pets every month and may not be obligated to hold a prisoners pet for more than 72 hours. If it is a registered purebred the pet might be lucky enough to go to a breed rescue. Otherwise the best way that members of the public can assist is by offering to foster care pets for prisoners.

If you really want to help you need to approach your local humane society or SPCA and talk to them about volunteer foster care options. They may have a program in place and can get you involved or having you interested might give them the idea on getting such a program in place. If they do not have a program in place, ask them if they would take your name and number in case a situation arises where this might be a need.

Some Considerations Regarding Fostering Pets for Prisoners

You will usually be responsible for food and medical care expenses of the pet.

As with any foster care situation, you may need to have a "home check" done first to be sure your home is "pet friendly".

You will usually have to sign a contract stating that you know you are not the owner of the pet and that it is to be returned to the owner (free of charge) upon their release.*

It might not be known for some time how long the person is expected to be incarcerated, in some cases you may own the pet for its remaining days.

You might be able to request short term care only, as when the person is sentenced to 90 days.

You will be able to refuse to care for certain types of pets (such as an aggressive dog) if you do not feel safe accepting it.

Other Things to Consider when Fostering a Pet for a Convict

*Generally speaking you do not return the pet directly to the owner when they are released from prison, rather you return it to the animal shelter and the person picks it up from there.

Upon their release from prison, having a pet at home can help a person stay straight, they have something to be responsible for.

Basically you should think of yourself as a person who is doing a community service, you have a "temporary" pet and are helping the pet, in addition to helping another person.


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Posted on Feb 17, 2012
Judith Barton
Posted on Feb 16, 2012