Kitten file photo

Best Friends Animal Society and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services have come together to save vulnerable kittens through a new shelter diversion and foster program.

Kittens brought into Polk County Animal Services or found without mothers by the public will be fostered by local volunteers until they are old enough to be spayed/neutered and adopted, which is typically around two months or two pounds. Through this new program, the groups hope to save 500 kittens by December 31.

Polk Animal Services has been dedicated to increasing the lifesaving programs at the shelter, but it takes a village to save them all. Best Friends, a national animal welfare organization, has been collaborating with the shelter for several years and established the new foster program in March.

"Our goal is to supplement the work that Polk County Animal Services and other dedicated rescue organizations in Polk County are already doing,” said Fraily Rodriguez, Director of Lifesaving Centers for Best Friends Animal Society. “We saw there was a lifesaving opportunity in the system with the youngest of kittens who are the most vulnerable and resource intensive in a shelter because of the round-the-clock care they require. With the community’s support, we can increase lifesaving for them and make a tangible difference for pets in Polk County."

Foster families, transport drivers and adoption ambassadors are needed for the new program. Those interested in helping can email for more information. When kittens from the program are available for adoption, they will be listed on

“We are excited about this new joint venture with Best Friends and our animal rescue partners,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. “Our citizens are caring and resourceful — we know that with the right structure in place, we can help these kittens find forever homes.”

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