‘Never been this bad:’ Tri-Cities animal shelters in dire need of fosters as they reach capacity

TRI-CITIES, Wash. — Stephanie Stadelman and her husband have fostered around 120 animals over the course of seven years.

Stadelman, who is on the board of directors for Mikey’s Chance Canine Rescue, said it’s her love for pets that keeps her inspired and motivated to help those in need.

But now, she’s asking the community to step in and open up their hearts and their homes as multiple shelters in the Tri-Cities area are hitting capacity and unable to accept intakes.

“Our shelters are having to make some really hard decisions,” Stadelman said. “Currently, they don’t have space for dogs that are coming in, whether they’re found, surrendered, hit by cars… they don’t have room for them.”

Stadelman added that while it’s always hard in rescue to find space, she’s “never seen it at this level before.”

“I know that there’s not always space in the shelters for these pets so the more that we can get out into foster homes, the more lives we’re able to save,” Stadelman said. “Opening your home to a foster animal is really what’s going to be what makes a big impact on the lives of the animals in our community, whether it’s dogs, cats, bunnies… there’s a need for any type of foster.”

Suzanne Tosten, another longtime foster parent for Mikey’s Chance, said she believes the mass influx of animals needing homes is because people are deciding to give up their pets.

“These animals need us,” Tosten said. “People are dumping animals because they don’t have a place to take them and that’s really tragic.”

Stadelman agreed, noting that “it’s important to realize that your pet would rather spend eight hours at home by itself while you’re at work than it would 23 hours a day in a kennel at a shelter.”

Both fosters said people deciding to own an animal should be aware of the responsibilities that come with it.

“…Individuals need to seek out help when they are having problems with their pets instead of just wanting to surrender them. It’s important to adopt instead of buying “accidental litters” because buying dogs from backyard breeders contributes to the overpopulation problem,” Tosten said. “Animals are suffering because there isn’t adequate space in shelters and rescues need more people to step up to foster so we can prevent animals from being abandoned.”

If you want to foster a pet with Mikey’s Chance, the Tri-Cities organization covers the entire costs of food, medical bills, and other supplies.

“You’re not stuck with a dog. If for some reason it isn’t working out, there are a slew of people with tons of dog experience to support you,” Tosten said. “I just really encourage people to try it. I have never had a bad experience… it’s fun to take a chance.”

To become a foster, click here.

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