One silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic is the increase in animal adoptions and fostering because people are adhering to the Safer at Home requirements and can devote time to a new pet.

The LA County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) has greatly expanded its fostering program so people can quickly and safely choose a pet to take into their home for a period of time, providing that animal with a calm and nurturing home environment. The joy and companionship brought by these animals are great comforts during this challenging time.

DACC is also here to assist people who are experiencing safe housing issues. The COLA-HI program provides temporary sheltering for pets belonging to people experiencing homelessness. This allows these individuals to get into safe housing without worrying about their pets.

DACC’s Ani-Safe program provides temporary housing to pets belonging to victims of domestic violence. Many victims do not leave abusive situations because domestic violence shelters do not accept pets. They and their pets are forced to continue to endure the abuse.

DACC will provide confidential and safe housing for these animals so victims can get the services they need and move into safe living arrangements. In both these scenarios, the pets are later reunited with their owners when they have found permanent safe housing.

As DACC is adapting to the new operating practices created in response to COVID-19 the department is learning new and better ways to manage the various services it provides. For example, using appointment systems has greatly improved the customer experience for adopters and owners reclaiming their lost pets.

Expanding fostering has brought joy and love to many animals and people. While this is a very difficult time for us all, there will be valuable lessons learned for the future. Just as Hurricane Katrina revolutionized animal rescue during natural disasters, COVID-19 will also be a catalyst for transformational changes in animal sheltering. Visit https://animalcare.lacounty.gov.