LifeLine Animal Project is offering a way for individuals facing evictions to keep their pets through its new Safety Net Fostering Program.

LifeLine, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that manages the DeKalb and Fulton county animal shelters, has pets up for adoption both in the shelters and through a foster program. According to a news release, Safety Net, which provides temporary housing for pets owned by individuals facing eviction, helped LaShondria when was evicted from her Atlanta home in February.

LaShondria said she thought she would have to relinquish her pets — Ben, Nikki and their two puppies — to the animal shelter, because she needed resources and time to find a new home (the last names of LaShondria and other program clients and foster parents mentioned in this article were not released by LifeLine to protect their privacy).

“Through the program, LaShondria’s dogs were placed in two foster homes for about a month, and they were joyfully reunited with her after she had found a new place to live,” the release stated. “LifeLine will also be spaying and neutering LaShondria’s dogs free of charge.”

The program provides pet owners in crisis, due to the COVID-19 pandemic or other reasons, the time to get back on their feet without having to give up their pets.

“In the past, people would sometimes come in crying because they had to give up their pets due to a hardship,” Kimble Sorrells, the Fulton shelter’s community programs manager, said in the release. “Through our Safety Net program, people are no longer forced to do that, allowing at least one big stressor to be removed from their lives.”

Tori Pedro, the DeKalb shelter’s community programs manager, added, “People shouldn’t have to give up the pets they love just because they’ve fallen on hard times. At LifeLine, we believe it is in everyone’s best interest to keep people and their pets together, and we have a number of programs that do just that.”

After suffering from a stroke, Jane was having trouble physically caring for her large dog, Brutus. So she contacted a community caseworker at LifeLine’s DeKalb shelter who was able to find a Safety Net foster for Brutus for a month, giving Jane time to heal and formulate a plan for Brutus’ care when he returned.

She received regular photos and video updates during her time apart from Brutus and was thrilled when a LifeLine employee brought him home last week.

The individuals who use the program aren’t the only ones who benefit.

“I’m so glad I participated in the Safety Net Foster program,” Hollie, a foster parent, said in the release. “It was the perfect opportunity for me to have fun with a furry friend for a short while and help someone keep their dog in the long term. I can’t wait to foster again!”

To apply for help through the Safety Net program or to volunteer as a foster, visit lifelineanimal.org/safetynet/.

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