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LA City Council moves forward with pay-to-foster program for pets

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The Los Angeles City Council paved the way Friday to move forward with a pay-to-foster program for pets to help relieve overcrowded animal shelters.

The council plans to evaluate the city's existing foster program and look at models in other cities in order to establish a monetary stipend for fostering animals.

Councilwoman Eunisses Hernandez said it's going to take a multi-pronged, creative effort to tackle overcrowding in its six shelters.

"Our foster program is one of the best tools we have to get our animals out of the shelter, give them love and enrichment," Hernandez said.

She pointed out that many nonprofit organizations offer stipends for foster volunteers, paying them for the efforts and attracting people to foster.

Hernandez, who chairs the council's Neighborhoods and Enrichment Committee, described being a foster volunteer as an "incredible, rewarding experience," though it can be "a great deal of work."

Some animals have special needs, require medication or need to be bottle fed.

Earlier this month, the City Council approved a temporary moratorium on dog breeding permits in another bid to address overpopulation at the six city-run animal shelters.

The moratorium will be lifted once shelters are at or below 75% capacity for three consecutive months, and could be automatically reinstated if shelter capacity rises above 75%.

City officials emphasized the moratorium is only temporary until the shelters' can get control of the situation. It will affect dogs specifically, not cats or rabbits, because the shelters are reporting an influx of purebred dogs being dropped off.

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