The Humane Society of Marion County, Florida


Fostering Pets

Our Foster Care Program encourages members of the community to open their homes to our animals who need out of the shelter. Fostering is one of the very crucial ways you can help the animals of Marion County. Community members opening their homes to provide a temporary place for shelter pets, even for a short period of time helps save lives. Saving lives is a community effort and you can play a huge role.

​How to Become a Foster

  1. Application: To begin becoming a foster at HSMC, you must complete a foster application. This can be done by visiting the shelter for an application, printing, or filling out the application below.
  2. Agreement: Please thoroughly read the agreement attached to the application.
  3. Interview: An adoption counselor will call and ask questions to verify your application. They will also give your information to the appropriate foster department.
  4. Handbook: You will be expected to review this handbook thoroughly and become familiar with all sections.
  5. Fostering: A staff member will reach out when we have available animals for fostering. Many times we are unable to take animals in (puppies & kittens) if we do not have a foster for them to go to.
  • ‘Active’ fosters are participants in the HSMC Foster Program who have completed all steps.
  • ‘Inactive’ fosters are if more than six months have passed since the completion of the last foster.
  • HSMC may limit fostering in its sole discretion. 

​Qualifications and Requirements

The following qualifications and requirements must be met and maintained for an applicant to be considered eligible for active participation in the HSMC Foster Program.

  • Fosters must be at least 21 years of age or have a parent/guardian to sign off.
  • Fosters must be willing to read all paperwork and go through an interview.
  • Fosters must be able to provide proof that their landlord allows companion animals (if applicable).
  • Fosters must have prior knowledge, or be willing to learn, about animal needs and behaviors.
  • Fosters must be able to provide essential needs including food, shelter, play and exercise time, affection, and overall ensure their health and safety.
  • Fosters must be willing to learn and practice techniques that support animal health and well-being.
  • Fosters with personal pets must have proof that all their pets are spayed/neutered and are current on all vaccinations, heart-worm treatments, and flea prevention.
  • Fosters with personal pets must have established independent veterinary care for their own animals.
  • Fosters must be willing and able to transport foster animals to the shelter for medical care during clinic hours.
  • Fosters must be able to follow medical instructions and keep track of medical records and appointments.
  • Fosters must be able to accept that not all animals will survive.
  • Fosters must remain attentive and committed to the specific outcome plan formulated for each foster animal.
  • Fosters must have the ability to communicate with HSMC staff regarding foster matters.
  • Fosters must respect all HSMC foster policies and keep all HSMC foster agreements relating to their participation in the HSMC Foster Program.

Some applicants may not be eligible to participate as HSMC foster. Some examples of why an applicant might be denied are listed below.

  • Inability or unwillingness to fulfill the qualifications and requirements as explained in this handbook.
  • Prior HSMC foster history of failing to honor conditions of the present policies, agreements, or contracts.
  • Household members are unwilling to share the home with animals including for reasons of health or personal preference.
  • Refusal to return a fostered animal as requested or releasing a fostered animal to someone without a contract or with HSMC permission.
  • An animal has recently died in the home due to circumstances bearing risk to the health of a foster animal.
  • Animal negligence or cruelty including inadequate care up to violent acts.
  • Appearing to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while engaged in an HSMC foster-related activity.
  • Abusive or disruptive behavior toward HSMC staff at any time including on shelter property, at HSMC related events, or even online social media.21
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