Frequently Asked Questions

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

Orange County Animal Services, with the support of the community, has been able to reach lifesaving milestones in recent years. In fiscal year 2022 the shelter achieved live release, through adoption, reunification and rescue placement, for 95% of the dogs and 88% of the cats.

Orange County Animal Services does not identify as "no kill," a term that is ambiguous, as there is no clear and legal definition for the term.

OCAS is an open admission shelter, meaning no animal in urgent need is turned away, regardless of health issue or behavior concern. Animal Services is the only open admission shelter in this county and is committed to being an available resource for people and animals in need.

As the only open admission shelter in this area, Animal Services receives pets on all sides of the spectrum. While most are healthy, friendly adoption candidates, some have critical needs due to medical issues or pose a threat to public safety due to demonstrated aggression. A small portion of animals may have contagious disease that pose a risk to the other pets or may be too young to viably stay in the shelter. It is these animals for which there are extremely limited resources and therefore the shelter may need to make the difficult decision to humanely euthanize.

Euthanasia of animals is a community issue, not just a shelter issue.

To review relevant data to learn more about the high volume of animals the shelter receives, and their outcomes, please visit our "Shelter Statistics" page .

Beginning May 1, 2024, Orange County Animal Services will no longer be testing healthy appearing cats for feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) for adopters and owners.

Animal welfare is a constantly evolving field and we strive to stay informed with the latest research and best practices. In reviewing data and trends, we’ve observed a shift in mindset related to these viruses. Here are the key reasons for the change:

  • A very small percentage of cats are affected by these diseases. Per the 2020 American Association of Feline Practitioners’ Retrovirus Testing and Management Guidelines, North America observed a 4% FeLV antigen prevalence and a 5% FIV antibody prevalence, the lowest of any surveyed region. For OCAS specifically, across all 4,825 tested cats in 2023, we experienced a positive rate of 3.6% for FIV and 0.6% for FeLV.
  • Unreliability of single point-in-time testing. While IDEXX SNAP tests have proven most reliable, per a 2017 study published in the National Library of Medicine, there is still an error rate. The study states: “In typical cat populations with seroprevalence of 1–5%, a majority of positive results reported by most point-of-care test devices would be false-positives.” Cats can test positive (falsely) if recently exposed to a virus before their immune system response has developed. Alternatively, it can also take 30 to 60 days from time of infection for a cat to test positive via SNAP test for one of the two viruses, so any interim test would yield a (false) negative.
  • Consequence of possibly inaccurate FeLV or FIV status. A positive FeLV or FIV test can have life-altering results for the specific pet. A positive for FeLV specifically results in fewer placement opportunities and potentially euthanasia, all the more tragic if it is in fact a false test result. Alternatively, a false negative can provide an inaccurate sense of security.

Due to the low incidence of infection, lack of reliability in a single point-in-time test and required resources, testing for single-housed, healthy cats is no longer required per the Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters. This sentiment is echoed by the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program.

Cats arriving at the shelter with medical challenges consistent with these viruses, or displaying symptoms throughout their stay, will be tested as a diagnostic tool. Moving forward we will be counseling adopters and reclaiming owners on the importance of developing a relationship with a veterinarian who can advise on testing recommendations based on individual considerations and risk factors. We will be requiring adopters to keep newly adopted cats separate from any resident cats until such consultation can occur.

The shelter is often asked if animals are provided a set time they are allowed to remain in the facility – the answer is no. the shelter has had animals in its care for months at a time and will hold pets indefinitely as long as their medical and behavioral health remain stable and as long as space allows.

Stray animals are required to be held for a minimum time period, to provide a possible owner a chance to reclaim. The stray hold does vary dependent on a few factors.

Each day we receive dozens of inquiries from residents, both local and afar, wanting to adopt small dogs or puppies. they are by far the most in-demand types of pets and as such there is fierce competition when one does arrive at the shelter.

In addition to them being exceedingly popular, they do not make up the majority of dog intakes. the majority of dogs coming into the shelter are adult, large breed dogs.

If you have your heart set on a small dog or a puppy, we implore you to be patient. our shelter does receive these types of pets and they tend to be adopted incredibly quickly. if you see one on the website that interests you, we recommend coming in immediately as we operate on a first come, first serve basis. more about our adoption process can be found here.

If you know you want a specific type of pet and are looking to adopt sooner, rather than later, we recommend checking out our registered rescue partners. many of them will have small dogs and puppies available for adoption.

Whether you adopt from our shelter or a rescue group, we wish you luck finding the small dog or puppy of your dreams!

Our veterinary services are limited to our shelter pets and we do not currently offer any services to the public. If you’re looking for low-cost veterinary options, please consider the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. Additionally, we recommend searching online for veterinarians in your area and establishing a relationship with a care provider for your pet. It is essential that your pet receives an annual checkup and that you have a doctor you trust should your pet ever experience a medical emergency.

We do not trap nuisance wildlife. Opossums, raccoons and other wildlife are natural inhabitants of Florida’s landscape and it’s not unusual to see them in yards. Our primary responsibility is caring for the community’s dogs and cats. While we will aid injured wildlife, we will not trap and handle wildlife for nuisance purposes. Should you wish to report an injured animal, please call 3-1-1.

If the presence of wildlife has escalated to the point you feel it is a nuisance and would like to have it removed, please consult with a private trapper.

Welcome to Orange County, Florida!

There is no pet registration mandated in our area. The rabies vaccination is required for pets four months and older.

There is no pet limit in Orange County.

The standard adoption fees are $55 for dogs and $40 for cats. The shelter often offers promotions which may further reduce these prices.

The fee to surrender a pet to the shelter is $15.

The fees for reclaiming a pet for the shelter vary.

Please call the Orange County call center at 3-1-1 to report any type of domestic animal-related issue. If you are making a complaint regarding animal cruelty and wish to remain anonymous, please specify that to the call taker. You may also make an anonymous report by calling Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS or visiting

Due to the high volume of calls that Animal Services receives, calls are responded to on a priority basis, with calls involving the immediate well-being of people and pets handled as quickly as possible. Due to the nature of the priority system, with the possibility of new, emergent calls incoming, Animal Services is unable to give accurate estimates for officer response time.

About Us