Foster Care

Why is Foster Care important to the work of Horsham PAWS?

Pound environments can be stressful and anxiety provoking and can in some cases create behavioural and psychological problems in otherwise stable animals. For this reason, Horsham PAWS endeavours to minimise the time animals spend in the pound by matching them to a suitable home environment. This is after the animals have undergone basic temperament testing and health checks.  

Why Foster?

By taking a foster pet into your home you are providing direct and immediate relief from the pound environment. This is one of the greatest contributions you can make towards helping a pet find their “forever home.”   Foster carers help prepare pets for their new homes by providing stability, care and training. While caring for a pet you learn more about its character, behaviour, likes and dislikes. This information is valuable in helping Horsham PAWS match the pet to a new home.

Different Types of Foster Care:

The release of impounded animals into community foster care is governed by The Department of Primary Industries “Code of Practice for the Management of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Pounds” (Revision 1). This outlines four categories under which an animal can be considered for foster care:

1.      Juvenile Foster Care

To allow for a healthy puppy or kitten to be cared for in a home environment in preparation for adoption


2.      Veterinary Rehabilitation Foster Care

To provide an opportunity for animals with a recoverable injury or llness to be treated in a home environment prior to adoption

3.      Behavioural Rehabilitation Foster Care

To provide an opportunity for animals to be retrained to rectify a behavourial trait restricting the animal being rehomed. Pets entering under this category will have passed basic temperament testing prior to being released to a carer and will be further assessed periodically by the ranger to ensure they are making progress.

4.      Short Term Relief

To allow a healthy animal to be cared for in a home environment prior to adoption. This is the most common category under which pets enter foster care.

What are Horsham PAWS looking for in Foster Carers?

Horsham PAWS must seek to find the right home environments to cater for the needs of pets in the rehousing program. Foster Carers are required to:

  • be financial members of Horsham PAWS
  • have a suitable environment to keep foster animals safe (secure yard for dogs, cat enclosure or ability to keep cats contained inside)
  • provide proof that any other animals residing at the address are spayed / neutered and fully vaccinated
  • have council approval to house additional animals at the address (if numbers including own pets exceed council regulations)
  • have time to spend with the foster pet (socialising, providing training and exposure to different experiences)
  • have time to communicate with Horsham PAWS and prospective owners
  • be available to assist with transport to appointments and provide flexible access to the pet

All animals fostered from the pound remain under the legal authority of Horsham Rural City Council until such time as they are adopted. Through a spirit of partnership, council rangers and Horsham PAWS seek to achieve the most appropriate and positive outcomes for all animals in the rehousing program.