Gimme shelter: Brooklynites foster pets en masse amid COVID-19 outbreak

Huck, is just one of a hundreds of animals who have been fostered or adopted during the coronavirus pandemic.
Courtesy of Gabrielle Puglia

From shelter in place to sheltering pets!

Brooklynites have fostered and adopted four-legged friends en masse to keep them company while they self-quarantine during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak — so much so that the owner of one Gravesend animal rescue has had to turn prospective pet parents away because they’ve run out of furballs!

“It’s very unusual,” said the the co-founder of Angels for Mistreated Animals, or AMA Animal Rescue, Anna Khazanova. “More so ever than before we have new fosters.”

Khazanova’s Cropsey Avenue shelter usually has between 35 to 40 animals looking for a home and last week a client picked up their last remaining pet amid the sudden surge in demand.

She believes that many Kings County animal lovers have been motivated by the pandemic to take care of a cat or a dog, and she hopes that some of the new foster parents will become adopters, known also as “foster failures.”

“This has been the little push they may have needed,” she said. “We’re hoping to get some foster failures, who win as adopters.”

Her center still receives calls every day and demand has more than doubled in the past weeks, she said.

This trend is happening across the city as the shelter organization Animal Care Centers of NYC on Sunday tweeted that more than 400 of their pets have left their shelters either through fostering, adoption, or via another partnering organization.

Some shelters in the Five Boroughs are seeing an increase of as high as 10 times their usual demand, Bloomberg reported.

One Bay Ridge grad student has decided to foster an adorable two-year-old black pit bull named Huck to take care of in the coming months as she faces studying and working from home.

“I’ve always wanted a dog, but with school and work there wasn’t time,” said Gabrielle Puglia. “If I’m going to be stuck, I might as well give someone else a home so they’re not stuck at home too — this one just kind of fell into my lap.”

Gabrielle Puglia and her boyfriend Frank Pesce with their fostered pooch Huck.Courtesy of Gabrielle Puglia

When Puglia went to pick up the pooch at the Animal Care Center’s Brooklyn outpost in East New York on March 21, she said that all of the shelter’s cats and smaller dogs were already taken. She’s happy to have found Huck, who she says has been a real pal.

“He’s is the sweetest dog ever, I’ve had dogs before and none has been this much of a lap dog,” Puglia said.

She and her boyfriend, Frank, have already grown attached to the handsome hound and it will be bittersweet to hand him over to an adopting family, she said.

“It’s going to be so hard to let him go,” she said. “He’s really pretty so I don’t think he’ll have any trouble getting adopted.”