GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - The Jackson County Animal Shelter is crammed with more animals than it had last year - 400 more, to be exact.
Unfortunately, that number continues to rise.
"You're walking through, you're looking at them, and it breaks your heart. Because they're good animals, and where are their owners. It's terrible," said Maridee Mallette.
But, there is good news - euthanasia is down and adoptions, which help alleviate overcrowding, are up.
Volunteer Heather Breaux has been fostering animals through the Friends of the Jackson County Animal Shelter Pets for about a year, and has adopted a few as well.
Most fostered pets are transferred to another shelter out of state or adopted locally.
"Obviously, you fall in love with them," Breaux said. "But the rewards of them going to a forever home and not having to come to the shelter or even, for that matter, knowing that they're not only the streets dying somewhere being neglected."
The Friends organization pays for the care. All foster parents have to do is provide a loving home for two to six weeks.
While an adoption is the ultimate goal, fostering is a good option for those not wanting to be owners.
"Fostering is the soul of us. It's what we need," said Jeanene Martin with the Friends of the Jackson County Animal Shelter Pets. "We don't have the homes available. And when you pull one, you actually save two animals. You're saving the one that you pulled and the one that gets to go in that kennel."
Thirteen-year-old Kyndel Bourlet is learning early the benefit of fostering.
"I just really like animals and I feel like it kind of helps them more and it makes them feel more safe and not as lonely during the night time."
For more information on how to foster an animal, contact the shelter at 228-497-6350.