A Hillsboro investigator says the Ohio SPCA is in need of foster homes in anticipation of more than 100 animals being surrendered at an Adams County farm Sunday. Laura Foster, an investigator for the SPCA who also owns a mobile dog grooming business in Hillsboro, said she anticipates about a dozen horses, seven dogs, six to eight cats, 100 chickens and maybe even some peacocks being surrendered to the Ohio SPCA.
There were also cattle and hogs at the farm, but they have already been relocated. She said the animals currently live at a residence on Bethlehem Road in Adams County, but no charges are being filed because of special circumstances. She said the couple who own the residence was separated with wife living in Cincinnati and the husband living at the home on Bethlehem Road.
Foster said the animals were not being fed, were malnourished, and were living with manure knee deep in their stalls. But the wife has been trying to clean the mess up, Foster said, noting that the barn has been cleaned, the animals are now being fed and a veterinarian has been called in to worm them.
“She’s really trying. It’s like night and day when you go out there now,” Foster said. Foster said that because the Humane Society in most counties can’t afford it, the Ohio SPCA works with them when animals need to be fostered out, and will pay for vet bills, feed and hay while the animals are in someone else’s care. She said that anyone who accepts a foster animal has to have their facilities checked to make sure they can properly care for the animal, then has to keep them for at least one year. After that, it’s up to the foster home owner what happens to the animal.
Foster said the SPCA also has 33 beef cattle that were removed recently and need foster homes. Those animals are currently being cared for at an Ohio State University facility, where the animals being surrendered Sunday will be taken and cared for before they are fostered out. One woman has agreed to foster two of the horses and someone else wants a couple dogs, but the rest of the animals being surrendered will not have a home after Sunday.
Foster emphasized that the SPCA is not just about removing animals and finding homes for them. She said it’s also about educating people how to properly care for animals and how to report things like animals not being fed, living in poor conditions, or even a dog that’s on too short a leash. She said it’s also knowing about what options you have if you get in a situation where you can’t properly care for your animals. In addition to working with the SPCA, Foster said she operates a program called 4 Paws that provides feed, hay, shelters and blankets for people with dogs and cats that can’t afford those things.
“If you get in a situation where you can’t afford to care for your animals, you don’t always have to be in a position to give them away – if you love them and want to keep them,” Foster said. “A lot of older people just don’t have the means to take care of their animals, and we want to help.” For more information on the SPCA or 4 Paws, call Foster at (937) 763-7297 or the SPCA at (740) 420-2984.