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Over capacity humane society offers gift card incentive for dog foster parents

Today on National Pet Day, KPBS Reporter Melissa Mae tells us about an incentive program the San Diego Humane Society has started to help find foster homes for larger adult dogs.<br/>

The San Diego Humane Society Monday unveiled an incentive program for people to foster large dogs, due to the organization's record number of sheltered adult dogs.

Any qualified volunteer who offers to foster a dog weighing more than 50 pounds for two weeks will be given a $100 gift card under the program.

The new incentive is intended to get 50 dogs into foster homes and comes after the organization set a record on March 24, with 620 dogs in care, breaking its previous record of 606 dogs on Dec. 20, 2022.


"We are piloting this new approach because we want dogs in our care to have an easier transition in foster care while they wait for their future family," said Dr. Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of San Diego Humane Society. "We'll be there to support fosters every step of the way, through staff support, medical care and behavior assistance. All we ask is for our community to provide the temporary home, love and care. We'll help with the rest."

Undated photo of a promotional flyer for large dog foster parents needed from the San Diego Humane Society.
San Diego Humane Society
Undated photo of a promotional flyer for large dog foster parents needed from the San Diego Humane Society.

The Humane Society has campuses in Escondido, El Cajon, Oceanside and San Diego. As of Monday, those facilities have 547 dogs in care. Of those, 462 dogs are housed at their campuses, putting the organization at 132% capacity, and 85 dogs are in foster care.

Large dogs are more difficult to place in foster homes, which is why the incentive focuses on this specific population, according to SDHS. Any length of stay at a shelter can be stressful for pets — especially dogs.

To qualify for the $100 gift card, foster volunteers must sign up in advance to attend one of the following two-hour trainings:

— 3 p.m. Tuesday at San Diego Humane Society's El Cajon Campus, 1373 N. Marshall Ave.;


— Noon Wednesday at the Oceanside Campus, 2905 San Luis Rey Road;

— Noon Monday, April 17, at the San Diego Campus, 5500 Gaines St.; or

— Noon Tuesday, April 18, at the Escondido Campus, 3500 Burnet Drive.

Volunteers also must pick up a dog from a pre-selected list, bring them home immediately after completing the training, and care for the dog for at least two weeks to receive one of the available 50 gift cards.

"The ideal foster for this incentive has the ability to separate the foster dog from other pets in their home," reads a Humane Society statement. "Many of the dogs San Diego Humane Society is looking to place into foster homes would prefer to be the only dog in the home."