UPDATE:  At this time we are only accepting foster parents who can care for large-breeds dogs such as Shepherds,  Huskies and Pit Bull type dogs.  If you are able to help in this capacity, please submit an application, today!  Thank you!

VCAS foster parents care for thousands of shelter pet each year.  We often need foster homes for animals who are sick, injured, older, terminally ill or who simply need a quiet place to rest and rejuvenate.  The majority of animals who enter our Foster Care Program each year are underage or underweight kittens, many of whom required around-the-clock bottle feeding by dedicated volunteer foster parents.


Foster Parent Requirements:

  • Must be 18 years or older.
  • Must have the ability to transport an animal to and from appointments and adoption events.
  • Must adhere to all shelter guidelines, policies and protocols pertaining to the foster program.

How to Become a Foster Parent:

Submit an online application which includes a release of liability waiver. Next, check your email for a link to the foster and volunteer orientation videos.  If you have not received an email, check your spam folder.  All prospective foster parents are required to watch all foster and volunteer orientation videos.  The orientation video will cover the goals and policies of the organization, as well as explaining foster and volunteer opportunities.

Note:  You do not have to become an on-site shelter volunteer to become a foster parent.

After watching the Adult Dog or Adult Cat videos, please sign up for a ‘Matchmaking Appointment’ with the Foster Care Coordinator to select your first foster animal.  Those interested in fostering kittens must sign up to attend the Underaged Kitten Training session with the Foster Care Coordinator. These appointments can be made through links you have received in your welcome email.  All VCAS Foster Families are required to follow all guidelines for animal handling set forth in the Foster Orientation Training and Volunteer Training materials.

If you also wish to become an on-site volunteer, please complete a Volunteer Application.

How to Select Animals to Foster:

Most shelter animals are good candidates for foster care, but there must be a need for that animal to be placed in a foster home.  The Foster Care Coordinator will assist you in selecting shelter animals who need placement.  For your convenience, we have created a page which displays shelter dogs who are in the greatest need of a foster home.  This page does not include all dogs available for foster. Click Here to view these dogs.

Fostering FAQs

How long do I keep my foster pet for?

Fostering is flexible.  Timelines might differ depending on the type of animal you are fostering and their needs.

Adult dogs:  From one (1) day to several months.  Foster parents can take dogs for day trips or weekend sleepovers.  These experiences can be very beneficial for long term or stressed dogs.  Fosters can also choose to foster dogs longer term; from a couple of weeks to even months.  Some foster parents choose to foster dogs until they get adopted.  The length of time you foster an animal is up to you.  If you are having difficulty finding an adopter, please let us know, we can help you market them.  Send us photos or videos for us to post on social media along with the best way you wish people to contact you.

Adult cats:  From one (1) week to several months.  Some cats are frightened or sick and may just need a week or two (2) in a foster home to heal and feel safe.  Other cats who have a very hard time living in a kennel, may need a foster parent who can keep them until they find an adoptive family.

Kittens:  From 1 – 8 weeks.  Kittens only need to stay in foster homes until they are 1.5 pounds and/or 8 weeks old.  These are the two (2) important requirements for spay or neuter surgery.  Another requirement is health. Cats who appear sick cannot be place under anesthesia for spay or neuter surgery.

How do animals get adopted when they are in foster homes?

Foster parents are in charge of marketing and promoting their animals for adoption but they are not alone.  VCAS has a wide reach on social media and can help promote shelter pets in foster care.  Send photos and video to the Foster Care Coordinator to help promote Foster pets.  Foster parents can also bring their foster animals to VCAS adoption events.

Foster pets still appear on our website even if they are home with you.  Your email address is listed online so people can contact you if they are interested in your animal.  Please check your spam folder so you don’t miss an interested party!

NOTE:  If someone reaches out to you, interested in your foster pet, never meet at someone’s home.  Always meet in a public place like a coffee shop.  You can always meet at the shelter for the meet-and-greet.

Are there any ongoing requirements for fosters?

None at this time.  You can foster animals as often as you would like. Our program is very flexible in this way.

What if I’m having problems with the foster application or online orientation video?

If you are having problems with the application process, please email the Foster Care Coordinator for assistance.

Can I still foster if I have pets of my own at home?

Yes, you can!  There are, however, some rules and guidelines that you will need to follow regarding your foster animal, but having other pets in your home does not disqualify you from becoming a foster.

Maddies FundVentura County Animal Services is a proud Maddie’s Fund partner!  Maddie’s Fund has provided grant funds that support our life-saving efforts.  


The VCAS.US website has been translated by Google Translate. Reasonable efforts have been made to provide an accurate translation, however, no automated translation is perfect nor is it intended to replace human translators. Translations are provided as a service to users of the VCAS.US website, and are provided “as is.” No warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, is made as to the accuracy, reliability, or correctness of any translations made from English into any other language. Some content (such as images, videos, Flash, etc.) may not be accurately translated due to the limitations of the translation software.

The official text is the English version of the website. Any discrepancies or differences created in the translation are not binding and have no legal effect for compliance or enforcement purposes. If any questions arise related to the accuracy of the information contained in the translated website, please refer to the English version of the website which is the official version. Ventura County Animal Services employs bilingual staff who are able to provide assistance.  Please call (805) 388-4341 or email

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