Pet Owners Needing Foster Help due to COVID-19

Who can apply for temporary emergency foster assistance?

Pet owners who are hospitalized or otherwise incapable of caring for their pets in the short-term due to COVID-19. Pet owners can fill out our application by pet owner for emergency foster to request assistance. If a pet owner is unable to fill out the application, another person may fill out our application on behalf of pet owner for emergency foster.

How will my pet be collected from my home?

We are not able to enter your home to retrieve your pet. You must designate someone who can retrieve the pets for you to hand off to us, or someone who can call 311 to have the city shelter system retrieve your pets. If the latter happens, we will pull your pets from the city shelter and send them to our foster homes. Please see our Plan in Advance page.

Do you have enough fosters to help all pet owners?

New Yorkers have reached out in tremendous numbers to help local shelters during the COVID-19 shutdown. With so many New Yorkers at home, it is the perfect time to foster an animal. We are making our best efforts to coordinate foster homes in all parts of the city, but we need community support to make this happen. Anyone can submit a request and we will work as hard as we can to ensure that all animals find a foster home. For those animals for whom we cannot find a foster home, we will work to ensure that they have a safe place in a shelter while they are waiting for their human family member to leave the hospital.  

How should I prepare in advance for my pet in case I end up hospitalized?

Please see our Plan in Advance page.

How are you selecting and screening potential fosters?

Potential fosters have to complete our foster application form and provide references which we will check. We may take a virtual tour of the home to ensure that it is pet secure. Best efforts will be made to ensure that pets are safe and supervised as appropriate to their needs.

What will happen to my pet after he/she is collected from my home?

Pets will be held for 72 hours as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus. Veterinarians will examine the animal, the vaccination status will be assessed and they will be vaccinated if required. Pets will be scanned for microchips and microchipped (if applicable) to ensure identification. As soon as the pet is ready, they are transported to foster homes.

What vaccines does my pet need to be up to date with and what happens if they are not up to date?

Cats must be up to date on rabies and FVRCP. Dogs must be up to date on rabies, DHLPP and bordatella. If we cannot verify the vaccine status of your pet, we will vaccinate your pet, at the very least for rabies. We will also microchip your pet if appropriate and provide basic veterinary care.

What if my pet needs medical care while I am in the hospital?

We will not let any animal suffer, but we have limited funds for major veterinary care. We suggest you plan ahead by leaving your credit card on file with your veterinarian or designating someone who can pay veterinary bills. 

Will I get updates on my pets’ situation while I am in the hospital?

You or your  your designated contact can email us at [email protected] and we will reply with updates.

How will I be reunited with my pet when I have recovered? 

Contact us and we will arrange for your pet to be delivered home to you.

What if I don’t survive and have not provided you with contact information for someone to take my pet?

If we are unable to verify your location, cannot get in touch with your emergency contact, and written notice is given to your email and emergency contact email with no response in 20 days, then we will deem the animal abandoned and seek to re-home the animal through our standard adoption processes. In some cases animals may be transferred to other partner rescue organizations. 

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Pet Owners Needing Assistance with pet Food Due to COVID-19 

Who can apply for assistance?

Pet owners who are suffering financial impact due to COVID-19. Please fill out our application for pet food assistance.

What are you able to supply?

We can supply up to two weeks worth of dry pet food for cats and dogs, as well as cat litter. Assistance for other species of pet is available on a case by case basis. 

How will I get the food?

Food can be picked up in Brooklyn Heights at specified times. We will email you information after you apply.

Where else can I find help?

Please see our resources page.

What precautions are you taking against COVID-19?

Volunteers handling food and supplies will wear gloves. Deliveries will be made curbside and we will make every effort to limit person to person contact.

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Pet Fosters

I would like to be an NYC COVID Pet Plan foster. What do I do?

UPDATE: Due to overwhelming response, our foster applications are temporarily closed. 

What precautions are you taking to ensure the safety of me, my human family and my existing pets?

Upon intake, pets will be held for 72 hours as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus before going to a foster home. All pets will be verified as up to date on vaccinations, or will be vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian. We will deliver pets to foster homes curbside so as to minimize person to person contact.

Can I choose what pet I will foster?

You may choose what species you are willing to foster: cats, dogs, small animals, etc. On the application you will also indicate how many of each type of animal and what special situations you can work with, such as medications.  However, due to these emergency circumstances we ask that you be willing to foster whatever individual animal(s) we bring to you based on the information you provide in your application. If you have any concerns about a particular animal you can always discuss those concerns with your foster coordinator. 

How long will I foster?

We expect that most pets will need foster for a period of 2- 6 weeks. However, some pets may require longer. You can indicate on your application how long you are willing to foster.

What happens if a pet owner does not survive or abandons their pet?

Pet owners may have people who have agreed to take their pets permanently if their pets outlive them. In the absence of such plans we will seek to re-home the pet through our standard adoption processes. If you are able and willing, you can continue fostering until we find a permanent home for the pet, but you are not required to do so. You can also apply to adopt the pet yourself if you are interested.

What if a pet suddenly needs medical care?

We do not plan to place unhealthy animals in foster homes. But emergencies can happen. We will give each foster contact information and instruction on how to deal with emergencies and who to contact. We have relationships with specific veterinary hospitals who offer reduced fees to help rescue organizations and will direct you to those organizations. As these animals’ owners have not relinquished them we also hope to have pets fostering in the vicinity of their regular veterinarians who would have their medical history.

What if I need help?

You will be able to email us with any questions. We will also have Facebook groups and Slack channels for fosters to communicate with other fosters. 

What supplies do I need? Do I need to provide food, etc?

Particular foster animals will have particular needs. Your foster coordinator will go over a list of what your foster animal will need. If you do not have a particular item you can purchase the item yourself or we will provide the item. The foster animal should arrive with a starter package that will provide food and other supplies for at least the first few days. If you are unable to supply food, litter, etc. we will ensure that you receive additional supplies while you are fostering.

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Why should other organizations join the NYC COVID Pet Plan?

New York City has a population of over 8 million people and covers 302 square miles. One organization cannot provide for all the pet owners and areas needing help in this emergency. Therefore we are offering infrastructure and support that local organizations can use to address pet owner needs in their area. We can all work together to make sure that each pet owner has access to pet food; and to ensure that no animal is left behind, unable to receive care while their owner is hospitalized. Please email us to find out how we can support your rescue in diverting animals from going into shelters and ensuring that they are safely waiting for their owners’ healthy return from the hospital. 

We currently need assistance obtaining pet food and delivering it to people who are unable to pick it up. We have especial need for assistance in Staten Island.

What are we offering to participating organizations?

  • Coordination and screening of foster applications 
  • Coordination of applications for assistance
  • Providing a centralized database of pet owners being assisted, fosters and fostered animals. We will enter data and partner groups will have view access.
  • Promotion of foster project to volunteers, applicants and fosters. Partner rescue groups should also promote to their networks.
  • Practical guidelines for animal collection and return, foster management, and potential animal abandonment that partner groups can decide how to follow at their own discretion.
  • Central messaging for ways to donate to rescue groups helping pets in their areas. 
  • Assistance setting up relationships with local businesses and veterinarians who could help with vaccinations and bathing to prevent spread of COVID-19.
  • We will list all partners on the NYC COVID Pet Plan website.

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