Foster Program

Foster parents are essential to Ingham County Animal Shelter.   Foster parents care for the animals in their own home.  It can be for a few days or weeks. They learn valuable information about the animals that help place them in a home.  Are they housetrained?  Good with other dogs and cats?  Do they like kids and adults?  The foster parents learn about the pets personality too.  Are the pets active, quiet, devoted, loving, etc.  All this information helps potential adopters choose the right pet.

What is an Ingham County Animal Shelter Foster Home?

A foster home is an approved safe and loving environment where an animal from the shelter can live on a temporary basis.

What type of animals qualify as a foster candidate?

Priority for foster care is given to animals who are old, injured or nursing and those who have been at the shelter for a lengthy period of time. Also, animals who have been victims of cruelty may need a temporary foster care while the animal is being rehabilitated and a cruelty investigation is being conducted.

Why is the foster care program so important?

  • Foster care enhances adoptability of animals because attention in a loving environment helps to socialize them.
  • Foster care alleviates overcrowding at the shelter.
  • Foster animals are more adoptable because their improved health and happiness is always reflected in their appearance.
  • Often a foster caregiver provides better information to a prospective adopter, e.g., is the pet housebroken?, does it like children or other animals?, what are its fears?, etc.

What are the responsibilities of the foster parent?

  1. The foster "parent" agrees to shelter and feed the animal in their home and to provide a safe and loving environment.
  2. If medical problems arise, the foster parent agrees to clear all veterinary visits with ICACS before making them, to take the animal to a veterinarian specified by ICACS, and to administer medications and follow up care as prescribed by the veterinarian.
  3. If the fostered pet is considered adoptable, the foster parent makes every effort to transport the animal to and from pet adoption events during the foster care period. You are not required to stay at the event.
  4. Foster parents provide information about the pet for the animals file.
  5. If the foster pet needs to be returned before the termination date of foster care, the foster parents are urged to notify ICACS 48 hours in advance so that other arrangements may be made for space and care.
  6. The foster parent is responsible for returning the pet to the shelter at the termination of foster care. In some cases, the animal may have to be returned periodically during foster care for checkups or medical care.
  7. The foster parent understands that the animals are the sole property of ICACS and therefore agrees not to sell, trade or give the animal away. It is understood that any adoption of the fostered animal must take place only through ICACS.
  8. Because foster care homes must be approved before an animal is placed, the foster parent agrees not to place the animal in any other home.

Steps to follow to become a foster caregiver:

  1. An application is completed by the prospective foster parent.
  2. A representative of ICACS conducts an interview
  3. Applicant attends a Foster Parent Orientation at the shelter.
  4. ICACS visits the foster care home.
  5. The application and interview are reviewed and verified by an ICACS staff member.
  6. The foster parent signs the foster care agreement at ICACS.
  7. Foster pet(s) is (are) placed at the home as needed. All necessary information about the pet as well as all ICACS phone number contacts are provided.
  8. ICACS monitors the progress of the foster situation and keeps the foster parent informed of any scheduled pet adoption events or need for the animal(s) to be brought back to the shelter.

*An application may be obtained online, mailed or picked up at the shelter.

Get the online foster form here: Current Foster Application

2017 Foster Orientation Dates
September 9th
October 7th
November 4th
December 9th

Orientations begin at 10am at the ICAC Shelter. Please bring your drivers license and proof of car insurance. Please email all questions to


Call Katie, the Foster Care Coordinator, today at 517-676-8383, or email and ask to be a foster parent…the animals are waiting for  YOU!