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Central Texas animal shelters desperate for holiday fosters

Central Texas animal shelters are desperate for foster homes ahead of the holidays. The Lockhart Animal Shelter says their status is "Code Red," with about 20 too many dogs at the shelter. They say animals may have to be euthanized as early as this weekend. (CBS Austin)

Central Texas animal shelters are desperate for foster homes ahead of the holidays. The Lockhart Animal Shelter says their status is "Code Red," with about 20 too many dogs at the shelter. They say animals may have to be euthanized as early as this weekend.

Late Wednesday afternoon 22 curious cats and kittens arrived at Austin Pets Alive! Twenty-five dogs are on their way to the shelter next.

"We aren't only at capacity. We are over capacity," says Mary Heerwald, APA! marketing and communications director. Heerwald says APA! saved 5,000 animals during Hurricane Harvey. However, unlike Harvey's human evacuees the animals are here to stay and shelters need fosters as soon as possible-- especially people willing to care for animals with special needs.

"This is really something that this entire area is feeling," explains Heerwald.

Four-year-old mixed-breed, Gracie Lou, was surrendered by her owners after the hurricane. She's been in Austin since Labor Day.

"Austin Pets Alive! is a shelter of last resort so these animals have nowhere else to go to be saved and that's why we are in such deep need of fosters to step up through the holidays," says Heerwald.

Wednesday the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter kicked off their "Home for the Holidays" foster drive. Murdoch -- a young dog who's also a Harvey evacuee-- is one of their animals looking for a home.

"It's a great time to figure out… 'Do you really want an animal?' You can foster. It's kind of like a trial run. 'Is this animal going to fit into your lifestyle?'" says Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter Director Cheryl Schneider.

Schneider says fosters help the shelter learn about animals' personalities in a home environment. It also increases their chances of being adopted and makes room for more animals.

"Sadly at this time of the year it seems like more people surrender their animals, too. Maybe because of the holidays, leaving town and not having sitters," says Schneider.

The foster application process is simple and the financial commitment is typically very small. For more information about becoming a foster for Austin Pets Alive! click here. For more information about Williamson County's Home for the Holidays foster drive, click here. Williamson County's shelter is currently having "name your price" adoptions.

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