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Heartland Humane Society in desperate need of foster families

Heartland Humane Society in Yankton is having difficulties finding foster families. They’ve been experiencing the staffing shortage since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020 and the numbers haven’t risen to the point they need yet.  

Executive director Kerry Feilmeier has been working with Heartland Humane Society since 2011. She said Heartland could easily use a dozen foster homes for dogs and the same amount for cats. 

“The need for kitten fosters is going to be rampant. The puppies don’t rush in as much but we always see a huge (increase) of kittens in the spring,” Feilmeier said. 

According to Feilmeier, almost every spring the shelter gets multiple litters of kittens. They can’t keep them in the shelter because if the kittens are too young to get vaccinated they are at risk of becoming sick in the shelter. 

Heartland Humane Society currently has about 12 cats and 12 dogs. Feilmeier said that they average between 25-30 dogs and cats in the shelter, but they are at a low at the moment. Feilmeier said if the shelter can get 12 dogs into foster homes, then they can bring 12 more into the shelter.  

“We operate on a capacity of care, meaning that we only take in as many animals as we have the ability to operate without feeling too overwhelmed,” Feilmeier said. 

Heartland Humane Society has also been looking for volunteers to work either morning shifts or afternoon shifts. The morning shifts begin at 8 a.m. and the afternoon shifts at 4 p.m. Both shifts consist of socializing and feeding the dogs and cats at the shelter.

“If you’re not a morning person, you can come at 4 o’clock and the same routine happens again,” Feilmeier said. 

Along with fostering and volunteering, the shelter is always looking for donations, especially cat litter and dog food.

“We’re always low on clumping cat litter and we’ve been low on good dog food to feed our dogs dry food. The other thing that’s more cost effective are sturdy dog toys. We use them for enrichment purposes, so we always want the dogs to have them,” said Feilmeier.