April 17, 2018
Categories: Research, Foster Programs
smiling dog

Short of finding a magic wand, there’s really nothing better than foster care programs for boosting lifesaving, cutting costs and improving health in animal shelters.

Unconvinced? Check out the results of a study just published in the peer-reviewed journal Animals, “Factors Associated with High Live Release for Dogs at a Large, Open-Admission, Municipal Shelter.”

The researchers looked at a total of 1,510 dogs over two years who went into foster care who were not considered good candidates for a quick adoption at time of intake, usually because of age or health. They found that dogs who had spent time in foster care, as well as dogs who had been adopted into homes and subsequently returned, had a higher live-release rate  than dogs who had not had a temporary experience in a home.

  • The total live release rate for the 1,510 dogs was 98.9 percent.
  • Foster care increased the odds of live release by about five-fold for all dogs.
  • That increase in odds of live release was 20-fold for adult dogs compared to first-time owner-surrendered dogs.
  • Dogs returned from foster care also had a 70 percent reduction in health concerns.

This research was supported by a grant from Maddie’s Fund® to Best Friends Animal Society, Kanab, Utah. The complete study is available at no cost at the link below.

Patronek, G., & Crowe, A. (2018). Factors Associated with High Live Release for Dogs at a Large, Open-Admission, Municipal Shelter. Animals, 8(4), 45. doi:10.3390/ani8040045

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