Laws That Affect Fostering
Be sure to investigate your state and local laws regarding licensing, confinement, kennel regulations, vaccination requirements, pet number limits, or breed-specific restrictions or bans. In addition to laws that apply to all dog owners, you may also be subject to laws that are specific to dog rescue and fostering, such as foster permits, health certificates, quarantine, etc.
Below is a selection of state laws that apply to foster homes. If you have additional information to share, please email.
A nonprofit animal rescue or adoption organization who brings a dog or cat into the state for the purpose of adoption or transfer is considered to be an animal importer. To import a dog into the state, you must register with the state and pay a fee. All dogs entering the state must have a current health certificate. All dogs brought into the state for transfer or adoption must be seen by a vet within 48 hours, every 90 days thereafter, and no more than 15 days before adoption/transfer. An animal importer must notify the Department of Agriculture at least ten days before any adoption or transfer occurs in a public place.
Thanks to Tara Shepherd with Blind Dog Rescue Alliance for sharing this info with us!
Foster homes are subject to inspections by the Department of Agriculture.
“Foster home” means an entity that accepts the responsibility for stewardship of animals that are the obligation of an animal shelter, not to exceed 4 animals at any given time. Permits to operate as a “foster home” shall be issued through the animal shelter.
605/3.2. Foster homes
§ 3.2. Foster homes. A person shall not operate a foster home without first obtaining a permit from the animal shelter for which that person will operate the foster home. Upon application and payment of the required fees by the animal shelter, the Department shall issue foster home permits to the animal shelter. The animal shelter shall be responsible for the records and have all the obligations of stewardship for animals in the foster homes to which it issues permits.
Foster homes shall provide the care for animals required by this Act and shall report any deviation that might affect the status of the license or permit to the animal shelter.
A foster home shall not care for more than 4 animals at any one time.
§ 21. The following fees shall accompany each application for a license...
f. for a permit for a foster home ................................ $25
g. for renewal of a permit for a foster home ..................... $25
There is a surprisingly long section regarding foster homes. Excerpts are provided below.
“Foster home shelter” means a type of shelter consisting of the premises of an individual who provides temporary care for one or more animals owned by a shelter that is licensed by the state of Kansas.... Application forms for a foster home shelter license shall be provided by the commissioner at the request of a licensed shelter. Each shelter wishing to use foster home shelters shall provide the application to each individual it approves as a foster home shelter. Both the sponsoring shelter and the foster home shelter license applicant shall sign the completed foster home shelter license application. The completed foster home shelter license application shall be submitted to the commissioner with the foster home shelter license fee [$10]....
Each sponsoring shelter using a foster home shelter shall develop a plan of veterinary care to be followed by the foster home shelter caretaker.... A foster home shelter licensee shall not directly accept stray animals or any animal relinquished by its owner.... A foster home shelter licensee shall not at any time maintain or house on the premises more than 19 adult animals.... These limitations shall include ... [a]ny adult animal that is a personal pet of the foster home.... A foster home shelter licensee shall not house intact dogs or cats six months of age or older unless spaying or neutering is contraindicated by a licensed veterinarian.... Each animal placed with a foster home shelter shall be evaluated every 180 days by the sponsoring shelter.... An animal shall not remain in the care of one or more foster home shelters for more than 12 months without written permission from the commissioner.
In 2005, Massachusetts issued an emergency order in response to dogs being brought into the state for sale or adoption (including "satos" from Puerto Rico) without proper medical care or quarantine. Dogs cannot be imported into Massachusetts unless they are going directly to an approved quarantine facility. After 48 hrs in quarantine, the dogs must be examined by a vet before being released to foster homes.
Foster homes are licensed as animal shelters and are subject to inspections by the Department of Agriculture.
Any group or individual who owns, keeps, sells, or transfers 26 or more dogs in a year must have a state kennel license. This includes "rescue network kennels" that do not have a kennel facility but utilize foster homes (called "rescue network kennel homes"). All rescue groups must keep records of dogs in foster homes. Rescue groups with a physical kennel location must have fire extinguishers and an approved exercise plan. Foster homes are required to have a copy of the kennel license of the rescue or shelter with which they volunteer, and must have kennel tags or individual licenses for each of their fosters. Individual foster homes are not inspected or licensed unless they care for 26 or more dogs in a year. An individual foster home which houses 26 or more dogs per year must also apply for its own kennel license. Pennsylvania kennels (including rescue network kennels) importing dogs from other states must deal only with licensed out-of-state dealers. If a kennel wants to receive dogs from an out-of-state dealer that is not included on the list, they must first get written approval. Each imported dog must be accompanied by a health certificate. Dogs must be at least eight weeks old to be imported or transferred (sold/adopted). Act 119 (pdf)
No releasing agency other than a pound or animal shelter shall place a companion animal in a foster home with a foster care provider unless the foster care provider has read and signed a statement specifying that the foster care provider has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment, and such releasing agency shall update the statement as changes occur. A releasing agency other than a pound or animal shelter shall maintain the original statement and any updates to such statement for so long as the releasing agency has an affiliation with the foster care provider.
A releasing agency other than a pound or animal shelter that places a companion animal in a foster home with a foster care provider shall ensure that the foster care provider complies with § 3.1-796.68.
If a releasing agency other than a pound or animal shelter finds a direct and immediate threat to a companion animal placed with a foster care provider, it shall report its findings to the animal control agency in the area where the foster care provider is located. VA ST § 3.1-796.96:5