TLC Foster


TLC For Second Chance Ranch Animals

The Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL) would like to thank you for your interest in supporting and caring for an ARL Second Chance Ranch animal.

Here is some information regarding the foster program:

About The Second Chance Ranch: The ARL takes in many rescue cases without having knowledge of the animal's background, health issues, behavioral problems or temperament. We try to provide as much information as possible to the Foster Provider. In situations of court cases, we may not be legally allowed to share privileged information concerning the animal(s).

Advance Notice: It isn't always possible to provide advance notice. When another animal protection or law enforcement agency contacts the ARL for assistance, they are often at a point where an animal is already in the process of being removed from a bad situation, and we must mobilize immediately to help to secure the animal at risk. This often means finding a foster home and, sometimes, transportation, as soon as possible.

When we have a barn animal that is a good fit for your situation, we will contact you right away to be sure you are prepared to care for the animal, and request your agreement to foster him or her.

Once the animal is on your premises, we will try to notify you as far in advance as possible if we need to move the animal for some reason, or if a prospective owner wants to visit the animal.

Expenses/Insurance: We ask that foster homes care for the animal as though it is their own, assuming responsibility for providing food, water, shelter, basic medical care, daily cleaning of stalls, applying fly spray as needed, and providing any medications or supplements as directed.

Foster homes need to make sure that their home owner's insurance covers any liability caused by the animals on their premises (for example, a horse gets out and causes property damage or injury). Many people with horses already have this coverage, but a quick call to your insurance company will clarify this for you. For public boarding or riding stables, they already would have commercial liability coverage.

Medical Requirements: The ARL will provide a medical record (as available) and specific instructions for the care of each animal. We ask that Foster Providers follow care instructions explicitly, and agree that any changes to the animal's diet, medications, or daily care routines MUST be prior approved by the ARL's Second Chance Ranch Coordinator.

This also includes the overall appearance of an animal. Combing, brushing, and daily grooming is encouraged, but we do ask that foster pets NOT be cosmetically altered in any way that is not medically necessary. (For example: do not shear a sheep or llama, or cut, trim, or otherwise alter the mane or tail of a horse without permission). Because some rescued animals may be sent to the ARL through other agencies and will be considered as being held in protective custody as their court trials proceed, we need to maintain their original appearance to any degree medically possible.

The ARL uses specific veterinarians and farriers on a regular basis, who often provide services at discounted rates. We encourage you to discuss this with the ARL Second Chance Ranch Coordinator.

Income Tax Donations: Expenses incurred while fostering an ARL Second Chance Ranch animal may be tax deductible when paid for by you. Please contact your tax advisor for further information. The ARL's tax identification number is available upon request.

Foster homes may request an income tax donation receipt from the ARL for any items supplied that are supplementary to the daily feeding and care of the animals. The ARL is unable to provide donation receipts for "time spent" such as the cleaning of stalls, etc.

Please do not "solicit" donated items or services without first checking with the ARL's Second Chance Ranch Coordinator.

Physical Requirements: Foster homes must have safe and appropriate fencing for the type of animal you are fostering, as well as providing an appropriate stall and/or shelter. We do ask for a veterinary reference and will contact your veterinarian.

Length of Stay: Foster homes may specify the period of time a rescued animal will stay with them. We have had Second Chance Ranch animals adopted in as quickly as five days and others not adopted for a year - depending on the individual animal and what people are searching for at that time. If the animal has not been adopted and the Foster Provider wishes the animal moved, that is not a problem, but we do ask for a minimum of two days advance notice so we can find transportation and a new home.

Quarantine: It is recommended that foster homes quarantine their foster animal for a period of time sufficient to protect their own animals from any diseases that may be carried by the foster. In the case of barn animals, a typical quarantine period is 14 days and generally consists of physical separation (no nose to nose contact), and no sharing of food or water. Many animals, because of neglect, have compromised immune systems and are more susceptible to diseases and health issues.

Types of Horses that Need Foster Care

There are different categories of foster homes.

  • Basic Care Foster Home: The horse does not require any additional daily care other than turn out and daily feeding. It is as healthy as it ever will be, is aged, or needs a resting period for a specific reason.
  • Draft Horse Foster Homes: Draft horses are completely different from owning and caring for a regular riding horse, from their nutritional needs to dealing with their sheer size. There are the additional concerns about the size of stalls, handling, and safe fencing.
  • Special Needs Foster Home: The animal may have an injury or wounds that need tended to daily, may need special medications given in either their feed, orally or injectables, or may need special monitoring or regular veterinary checkups.
  • Pony Foster Homes: Some foster homes are not set up for larger horses but may wish to foster ponies, whatever their needs may be. Ponies are often easier to place than larger horses are not often in foster care very long.
  • Potential Owners Visiting the Rescued Animal at Foster Homes: It may put your mind at ease to know that foster providers are not frequently contacted by potential adopters, and your name and contact information are not listed on the internet, flyers, or in any advertisements for ARL's adoptable pets.

Instead, we ask potential adopters to contact the ARL directly, and if we believe the potential adopter and your foster animal may be a good match, we will obtain their contact information and ask their permission for you to contact them by phone. We do encourage foster providers to talk to prospective adopters concerning foster buddies, since providers come to know each pet's personality, habits and mannerisms better than anyone else, by virtue of working with the pet on a daily basis.

If you feel the potential adopter and your foster buddy would be a good match, we ask that you allow them to make an appointment with you to meet your foster buddy in person. The ARL will provide you with an adoption application which you can give to prospective adopters, if this face to face meeting with the pet seems mutually promising.

Once the application is completed and returned to the ARL by the potential adopter, the Second Chance Ranch Coordinator will screen the application and assist them with the remainder of the adoption process.

If you feel that a potential adopter is NOT an appropriate match for your foster pet, please tell us. We rely on your input to help us develop a profile for the pet's successful adoptive home, and you are welcome to be as involved or not involved as you wish to be in the adoption process. You are welcome, but not required, to accompany the ARL representative on home inspections and follow-up visits. We will take any of your concerns into consideration before making any final adoption decisions, but the final decision will be up to the ARL.

It can be a very rewarding experience to play such a major role as rescuer and care giver to an animal in need! Most people bond with their foster animal and often follow his or her progress through life. Many even visit their foster animal occasionally at its new home. Many foster providers so enjoy their experience that they open their homes and facilities on an ongoing basis, providing emergency foster care or taking on longer term foster commitments, eventually fostering multiple times and enhancing the lives of many animals, as well as their own.

We hope this addresses most of your questions about the ARL's TLC Foster Program for Second Chance Ranch animals. If you wish to provide foster care to rescued barn animals, or have additional questions, the next step will be to contact the ARL's Second Chance Ranch Coordinator, Judy Hand, at (515) 473-9112, or via email at Judy will answer questions and/or provide you with an application to the TLC Foster Program for Second Chance Ranch animals. Preview the application.

Second Chance Ranch animals available for adoption at the ARL can include:

  • Horses
  • Pigs
  • Cows
  • Chickens/Roosters
  • Turkeys
  • Goats
  • Sheep
  • Ducks/Geese

View our current barn animals available for adoption.

Second Chance Ranch Foster FAQ's:

How can I give a home to a horse or barn animal in need?

A. First, check our website for barn animals in adoption. If you are interested in adopting, contact the Second Chance Ranch Coordinator at (515) 473-9112 or to set up an appointment to visit the ARL facility. When you determine if an animal is a good fit for you and your situation, you must complete an application for adoption. After the application is reviewed, you will meet with the Second Chance Ranch Coordinator to discuss a possible home visit and the terms of our adoption contract.

When I adopt, am I also making a commitment to lifetime care?

A. Yes. You are making a commitment to take care of the barn animal for the rest of their life.

Is there an adoption fee?

A. All of the horses that we adopt out have been vaccinated and wormed, and have had any necessary dental or medical care.

All other barn animals receive the necessary care and vaccinations required for their species.

Adoption fees vary by animal and species, if you are interested in adopting a barn animal, contact the Second Chance Ranch Coordinator at (515) 473-9112 or for more information.

Please note that the ARL does not adopt out any animal to be used for food or research. All horses and barn animals adopted from the ARL are to be adopted as companions. This provision in our adoption contract is strictly enforced.

Second Chance Ranch Wish List


  • Hay (not more than a year old, cannot be moldy)
  • Lime or stall deodorizer
  • Stall forks
  • Muck tubs
  • Work gloves
  • Treats

If you would like to bring fresh produce for the Second Chance Ranch animals, please call ahead (515) 473-9112 to see what items may be needed.


  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Pears
  • Ginger snap cookies


  • Bread
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Corn on the cob


  • Lettuce