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Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below for answers to many of the most common questions we receive.

What do I need to adopt a pet ?

Please bring a driver’s license and payment method.

What is the adoption process, and what is included with the adoption of a pet ?

The adoption process begins with visiting the shelter in person and interacting with a prospective pet. After the interaction has occurred, an adoption application must be completed. Once the application is approved and the fees are paid, the process is complete. As soon as the pet has met its mandatory hold requirements, it will be ready to go home!

The following are included in the adoption of a pet:

  • Spay/neuter
  • Initial vaccinations
  • Microchip identification
  • First deworming
  • Heartworm check (dogs over 6 months old)
  • Feline leukemia and FIV test (cats)
  • Rabies vaccination and tag
  • Bag of Science Diet dry food
  • Adoption Welcome Kit
  • Information on caring for the new pet

Can residents outside of Orange County adopt ?

Yes. An adopter need not live within Orange County to adopt. A valid identification is still required for the adoption.

When can I expect to pick up my new pet ?

When an adoption is approved and the animal has met the mandatory hold requirements (typically 3-5 days), the pet is good to go home. OCAS will notify the adopter on the day of the pet’s surgery and the adopter will have 48 hours to pick up. Pick up is between the hours of 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Can Animal Services assist with transport ?

Animal Services cannot transport pets. However, if an interested adopter lives out of town and is unable to visit the shelter, OCAS encourages them to reach out to a registered rescue partner for assistance.

What are the requirements for a pet owner in Orange County ?

Pet owners in Orange County must maintain a current rabies vaccination for their pets. They must also supply adequate shelter, food and water, and keep the animal properly confined.

Are all animals sterilized prior to adoption ?

Animal Services advocates on behalf of the importance of sterilization to help curb pet overpopulation. When adopting from OCAS, the sterilization cost is included in the adoption fee. The majority of animals adopted through OCAS are sterilized, health permitting. In rare cases an animal may not be a candidate for sterilization based on an observed health condition or age.

Prior to spay or neuter procedures, each animal receives a pre-surgical examination which helps shelter veterinarians determine whether or not the animal is a candidate for sterilization. In rare cases, a condition may not be apparent and surfaces only during the actual procedure, which could result in an unexpected complication.

Approximately 10% of OCAS’s shelter dogs are diagnosed with heartworm disease. Dogs that are heartworm positive may still be candidates for spay and neuter procedures. Veterinarians conduct a hands-on physical examination of the dog prior to, which includes listening to the dog’s heart and lungs as an aid to whether or not the animal is a candidate for sterilization. Heartworm disease has various stages, which is why the condition itself does not exclude a dog from being spayed or neutered. However, if a veterinarian does not believe the animal is healthy enough for the procedure, they will not proceed. These decisions are made on a case by case basis. It is crucial that any new family fully understand the needs of the animal prior to leaving the shelter, especially one with heartworm disease, or one that has experienced a complication during the spay/neuter process.

Animals with medical conditions that cannot be spayed/neutered can still be released to new families. They are welcomed back at the shelter for sterilization if their health improves in the future.

From time to time, the shelter has been asked to provide their policy on the sterilization of heartworm positive dogs. Because each animal’s needs are unique, it is the policy of OCAS that its team of licensed veterinarians maintain full discretion in determining the best treatment plan for sick or injured animals, in addition to which are candidates for surgical procedures.

Can I schedule a shelter tour or a guest speaker ?

Schedule a speaker by contacting Marketing and Public Relations at 407-836-PAWS or by emailing

How can I become a volunteer ?

To learn more about volunteering please contact or visit Animal Services Volunteer Page.

How can I get community service hours ?

Please email to learn more about community service hours.

How can I make a donation to OCAS ?

Please visit our donation page here for more information.

How can I apply for a community grant through the Animal Services trust fund?

Please email for the community grant application.

I lost my dog/cat. What should I do?

If an animal is missing, please check the OCAS pet portal online to see if it is at the shelter. It is also recommended to visit OCAS in person to search for lost pets as well. If the animal does not appear to be at the shelter, the owner is encouraged to post on the Lost and Found Pet Forum.

I found my lost pet on OCAS’s website. What should I do?

If a lost pet is in the care of OCAS, please visit the shelter in person to reclaim the animal. Proof of ownership is necessary. This can be in the form of the pet’s medical records or photos the dog and the owner together. Animals impounded at OCAS are held a minimum of five working days.

If owner information is available, Animal Services will make three attempts to contact the owner by phone. Additionally, a certified letter may be sent to the owner notifying him or her that the animal is at OCAS. The letter provides an added 10 days for reclaim.

During the hold period, an application can be submitted at any time. Animal displaying attributes of adoptability (good health, temperament, etc.) will often be held longer to provide an opportunity for adoption. Each animal is reviewed individually and decisions on hold times are made on a case by case basis.

How much will it cost to reclaim an animal?

Impoundment fees are:

$15 for the first impoundment.
$26 for the second impoundment.
$41 for the third impoundment.
The boarding fee is $10 per day.

In addition, the owner must show proof that the pet is up to date on its rabies vaccination to be released. If no proof is found, Orange County Animal Services can provide the rabies vaccination for $5.

I found a stray animal. What should I do?

First, try to locate the owner by checking to see if the animal has a microchip or any tags. An animal can be scanned for a potential microchip at any local vet or shelter. Additionally, posts on the Lost and Found Pet Forum are encouraged.

What is a pet microchip?

A pet microchip is a small identifying circuit placed under the skin of a dog or cat. These chips are registered with the pet owner’s contact information. When a lost dog or cat enters our shelter they are scanned for a microchip. If the animal has a registered microchip, OCAS will contact the owners to attempt to reunite them with their family.

Can my pet receive a microchip at Orange County Animal Services?

Yes, pet microchipping services are available in the OCAS clinic Monday through Friday from 1 – 5:30 p.m. The cost is $15 for the microchip service and for the information to be stored at Orange County Animal Services; an additional $9.95 may be paid to register the microchip nationwide.

How long is an animal held before adopting or euthanizing it?

By law, Orange County Animal Services keeps animals that are not displaying ownership for a minimum of three working days prior to adoption or rescue. Animals with signs of ownership are held a minimum of five working days. Signs of ownership include tags, a collar, a microchip, etc.

If owner information is available, Animal Services will make three attempts to contact the owner by phone. Additionally a certified letter may be sent to the owner notifying him or her that the animal is at our facility. This letter provides an additional 10 days for reclaim.

During the hold period, an application can be submitted at any time. Animals displaying attributes of adoptability (good health, temperament, etc.) will often be held longer to provide an opportunity for adoption. Each animal is reviewed individually and decisions on hold times are made on a case by case basis.

How much does it cost to have a pet humanely euthanized?

Orange County charges a $15 disposal fee both to euthanize animals and to dispose of deceased owned animals. Animals can be brought to Animal Services between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday - Friday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Owners are not permitted to be present during the procedure.

Is there a review process for unexpected outcomes at the shelter?

The care and well-being of all animals in the custody of Orange County Animal Services (OCAS) is of the utmost importance. OCAS has expanded their peer review process to create a forum that will allow veterinarians to review individual cases after an unexpected outcome at their request, the request of OCAS, or the community. This enhancement will welcome feedback and observations from outside veterinary staff who treated a shelter animal post release and provide a response to those with questions regarding animal care. It will also offer valuable information to the shelter.

For more information, please e-mail

Where can I view the full online version of the Orange County Code?

How do I report a case of animal cruelty?

Citizens can anonymously report suspected animal cruelty or dogfighting by calling Crimeline at (800) 423-TIPS or visiting The reporter may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000. Callers may also report directly to Animal Services by dialing 3-1-1 and requesting to remain anonymous.

How do I report a dog or cat bite, an aggressive animal in my neighborhood, an injured animal, a deceased animal on the roadway or other domestic animal issues?

Please call (407) 836-3111 or dial 3-1-1 to report any type of domestic animal-related issue in Orange County.

How long will it take an officer to respond to my call or complaint?

All calls are answered on a priority system. For example, animal bites, injured animals and aggressive animals are high priority and are attended to first. OCAS makes every effort to triage calls and respond to them in accordance with their impact on public safety.

Can I bring my animal to the responsible pet ownership class?

No, the class is a first step in the educational process of responsible pet ownership and is directed toward the pet owner or keeper.

I received a citation. What should I do?

Either pay the citation penalty or contest the citation in court. Payments should be made through the Orange County Clerk of the Court within 14 calendar days after issuance of the citation. If it is elected to contest the citation, the owner must appear at the Orange County Clerk of the Court on the date assigned in the citation for an arraignment hearing by a County court judge.

If the owner fails to pay the civil penalty within the time allowed or fails to appear in court to contest the citation, the owner shall be deemed to have waived their right to contest the citation. Judgment may be entered against the owner for an amount up to the maximum civil penalty. A four-hour mandatory Responsible Pet Ownership class may also apply under several circumstances. For more information, please call (407) 836-3111 or dial 3-1-1.

I received a nuisance letter or nuisance official notice and I want to dispute it (in reference to a loose dog, barking dog, nuisance cat being an unwelcome guest on property, defecating on property, or property damage). What should I do?

Please mail in a rebuttal letter to Orange County Animal Services. Another option is to call Citizens Dispute Settlement at (407) 423-5732.

I received an official notice from an officer requesting rabies information for my animal. What should I do?

Fax a copy of the rabies vaccination certificate signed by the animal’s veterinarian to (407) 355-5750.

I have a raccoon or opossum in my yard. How do I get it removed?

Opossums, raccoons and other wildlife are natural inhabitants of Florida’s landscape; it is not unusual to see them in yards. For nuisance wildlife it is the property owner’s responsibility to contact a private trapper.

What should I do if I have a nuisance cat in my yard?

If the cat owner is known, please file a report with Orange County Animal Services.

If the cat owner is unknown, Orange County Animal Services’ offers trap rentals for a $5 daily fee. The initial 5-day rental fee of $25 is required up front. The remainder of the rental can be paid when the trap is returned. A refund will be issued for unused days.

To start the process, please call (407) 836-3111. Once the trapping packet is received in the mail, please complete the citizen’s complaint form and fax it to the Trapping Coordinator at (407) 355-5749 for approval. A permit number and approved dates will be issued.

If the animal is sick, injured, or poses a public health threat, Animal Services will respond. Please call (407) 836-3111 or dial 3-1-1.

What should I do if my neighbor is feeding cats but not claiming ownership?

Provide the individual’s information to 311 Customer Service by calling (407) 836-3111. An officer will investigate the report to see if the individual is claiming ownership. If he or she is not claiming ownership, Orange County will allow private citizens to trap the cats. Trap rental fees apply.

What is kitten season?

In most states, kitten season begins around spring and lasts through early winter. However, in Florida, it can come close to all year long. Cats start reproducing and continue to have several litters during this time period. During this time, Orange County Animal Services experiences a massive influx of intakes of kittens and mother cats. Underage kittens without their mothers are at high-risk being brought into shelters due to the vulnerability of their health.

I found a litter of kittens. What do I do?

Before jumping to the rescue, please considering the following recommendations:

  • Quietly observe from a safe distance to determine if the mother is present.
  • If the kittens are clean and sleeping in a heap, mom is most likely out looking for something to eat and will be back to care for them.
  • If you sense the kittens are in immediate danger, move them to a safe area nearby where the mother can still find them.
  • Place them in a sheltered area, away from the direct sun, rain or traffic and continue to watch for the mother.
  • If you have observed the kittens for 12 to 24 hours and the mother has not returned, then pick them up, and care for them.

Be aware that sometimes, no matter what you do, some neonatal kittens do not survive and can fade very fast. You can only try to be the best surrogate guardian possible and hope for the best.

I am going to bring the litter of kittens to Orange County Animal Services. What will happen?

Orange County Animal Services is an open-admission shelter. That means we do not turn any animal away. However, kittens less than eight weeks old are at extremely high risk being brought into shelters. Due to large amount of animals housed at the animal shelter, underage kittens are more susceptible to diseases that can spread quickly and affect these vulnerable animals heavily, and often fatally. Underage kittens would be in need of foster care with constant monitoring and feedings. Animal Services can never guarantee that a pet will be fostered or adopted from the shelter, although every effort is made.

I want to care for the kittens. What are my next steps?

Due to the vulnerability of kittens in a shelter environment, Orange County Animal Services has partnered with Kindness for Cats, Inc. to empower citizens in the community to help through the Wait 'Til 8 program. Through this program, Kindness for Cats Inc. provides some resources to care for the orphaned kittens until they are at an age, safe enough to survive in a shelter and become a potential adoption candidate to find their new loving home.

What is the Wait ‘Til 8 program?

Wait ‘Til 8 means to wait until kittens are eight weeks old before turning them into a shelter. This program is designed to empower you to care for kittens in your home until the kittens are old enough to return for sterilization and adoption.

What animals is the Wait ‘Til 8 program intended for?

The Wait 'Til 8 program is intended for kittens, found within Orange County that are under two pounds, with or without an accompanying mother cat, and includes neonatal kittens, so long as the kittens are healthy.

How do I qualify for the Wait ‘Til 8 program?

  • Be able to safely house kittens and/or mama cat with nursing kittens for the duration of the program - typically until the kittens are 8 weeks of age and weigh at least 2 pounds. (Exception - if the mother cat is a "community cat", then she can be spayed and released back to her outdoor home as soon as the kittens are weaned, typically at five weeks of age.)
  • Give adequate and age appropriate food, and fresh water, every day.
  • Provide clean bedding and litter box.
  • Spend time each day socializing the kittens. In order to be an ideal adoption candidate, kittens need to be socialized and friendly.

Please note: Kindness For Cats, Inc. is not a rescue; they are a small group of experienced foster parents. They partnered with Orange County Animal Services for this program to empower and support people who have found young kittens in their community (alone or with a nursing mom) and want to give them a safe and healthy start on life.

Kindness for Cats, Inc. Resources:

"I found a kitten(s)" - PageID=19723

Wait 'Til 8 Kitten Intervention Program -

Wait 'Til 8 Kitten Intervention Program Guidelines -

For more information about Kindness for Cats, Inc., please email them at

I want to sign up for the Wait ‘Til 8 program. How do I do that?

If you’ve found a kitten or a litter of kittens and aren’t sure if they are old enough, to exist in a temporary shelter environment, you can bring them to Orange County Animal Services. At Animal Services, our intake staff can help weigh the cats to determine if they are a candidate for the Wait ‘Til 8 program. If they quality for the program, they will help enroll you. Kennel staff will also supply you to help get you started! If you are unable to make it to the shelter, please reach out to Kindness for Cats, Inc. and they can assist you further in determining if the cats will qualify.

Upon sign up, you will receive a bag containing the following supplies:

  • 1 can of Kitten Milk Replacer (“KMR”)
  • 1 kitten bottle
  • 1 syringe (3mL)
  • 1 case of canned kitten food
  • 1 disposable litter pan
  • 3 puppy pee pads
  • 4 pounds of kitty litter
  • The Wait ‘Til 8 program flyer with contact information for Orange County Animal Services and Kindness for Cats, Inc.
  • The Kitten Lady’s Orphan Kittens Booklet

My Wait ‘Til 8 kitten(s) are two pounds. What are my next steps?

Congratulations! Your kitten(s) are ready to find their new forever home.

You have the following options:

  • Bring them back to Orange County Animal Services.
    • They will be impounded, be placed on the spay/neuter surgery schedule, and be placed for adoption.
  • Contact Kindness for Cats, Inc.
    • They will be impounded, be placed on the spay/neuter surgery schedule, and be ready for a new home.

What makes a kitten an adoption candidate?

A healthy kitten is ready for adoption when they are two pounds or eight weeks old.

Share your Wait ‘Til 8 stories on social media using the #OCASWT8!

My Wait 'Til 8 kittens are sick. What do I do?

Please contact your local veterinarian for treatment. Orange County Animal Services will not perform spay/neuter surgery on sick kittens due to increased surgical risk.

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