By Jasmine Payoute

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Overcapacity, overcrowded, and overwhelmed. Three Philadelphia animal shelters are issuing a united urgent cry for assistance. They’re teaming up to help animals find homes through the Foster a Philly Pet campaign.

“We are very crowded. We have a lot of animals. We have over 300 animals in the building right now, dogs, cats. We have a duck right now,” Sarah Barnett said. “Everybody can do something. If you are able to foster a pet, take one home, give it a nice home while we’re trying to find them a permanent home, that’s great. Dogs, cats, kittens, you know, we’re really looking for foster homes.”

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Sarah Barnett is with ACCT Philly. The organization has joined forces with the Pennsylvania SPCA and PAWS to combat congestion that’s leaving less room for other animals.

It’s a problem fueled by the pandemic.

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“Something we’ve noticed in the past several months as compared to last year is that there’s really been a steep decline in the amount of fosters stepping up to take animals into their homes,” Gillian Kocher with the PSPCA said.

Their goal is 500 fosters for 500 animals, less than 1% of the city’s population.

A campaign goal they say will literally save lives.

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“When you foster an animal, you save two lives — you save the life of the animal that you take into a home and you open a kennel space for another animal to take so it really is making a huge impact,” Kocher said.

Jasmine Payoute