County animal shelter teams with Best Friends Animal Society

Their goal is to train volunteers for fostering at-risk dogs and cats

Special to The Sun: Burlington County Commissioner Dan O’Connell visits with a kitten at the Westampton shelter.

The Burlington County Animal Shelter and Best Friends Animal Society – a leading national animal welfare organization – are partnering to find individuals and families willing to open their homes to vulnerable animals. 

Their goal is to recruit and train new and existing volunteers to foster at-risk dogs and cats from the shelter. Volunteer drivers are also needed to help transport supplies and foster animals to and from medical appointments.

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Best Friends runs lifesaving programs across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. It collaborates with a network of more than 4,200 animal welfare and shelter partners and community members nationwide.

Under its agreement with the county, Best Friends will provide virtual training and 24/7 support to volunteers, along with all food, supplies and animal medical care needed during an initial six-month pilot program. After that, the shelter will assume control of the revamped foster program.

Best Friends has also awarded the shelter a $25,000 grant to support surgeries and medical care for the foster animals.

“Best Friends is an outstanding organization with a record of success assisting shelters and rescue groups across the nation,” said county Commissioner Dan O’Connell, liaison to the county animal shelter and the health department. 

“By teaming with them, we hope to find and train more individuals and families willing to provide foster care,” he added. “Every dog and cat we’re able to adopt or place in a foster home frees up space in the shelter for another animal, so we’re thrilled to enter this new partnership.”

“Burlington County Animal Shelter is committed to increasing their lifesaving programs, but it takes a community to save all of its homeless pets,” said Audrey Lodato, East region director of Best Friends. 

The shelter is the only one operating in New Jersey’s largest county and accepts surrendered pets and strays from all 40 of the county municipalities. Last year, it adopted out more than 450 dogs and 1,180 cats. Another 198 dogs and 832 cats were placed in foster care with rescue groups and with area animal lovers.

O’Connell adopted his dog Bingo from the shelter after first fostering for several months.

“Our board is incredibly proud of the job our shelter staff and volunteers do to care for animals and to help train them to find them new forever homes,” he noted. “My dog Bingo was originally a foster, but we quickly became best friends, and I’m proud to call him an adopted member of my family.

“I would encourage anyone with a love of animals to consider becoming a foster.”

Interested residents can sign up at or email for more information.

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