Tough economic times have created hardships for animal service agencies as more families abandon their pets and fewer people adopt.
The Ney family opens its home to as many as six foster cats -- from kittens in need of socialization to once-sick animals in need of recovery. Many of them would otherwise languish in a cage waiting to be adopted.
The Neys are part of a new strategy employed by the Washington Humane Society to help combat the overcrowding of shelter animals due to the downturn in the economy.
The Humane Society has been overwhelmed by the increase in abandoned pets, so it put together a network of 210 foster families, tripling its volunteers.
Families like the Neys helped place and save more than 800 animals last year alone.
About 10 percent of the Washington Humane Society's animals go in to foster care before they are adopted. Foster families are screened before being accepted into the foster program.