Animal Services is here to assist.

Thank you for adopting a pet from Orange County Animal Services!

We want to be sure to set you and your new pet up for success. The most common reason adopted pets are returned is because their introductions in the home were rushed and they were not given proper time to decompress.

The first few days and weeks with a new pet can be challenging. You and your new friend are adjusting to a major life change. The key to success is to give your pet time to acclimate.

Please be sure to check out the below references for guidance on handling and caring for your new pet.

For resources specific to cat behavior, please check out Feline Logic, a local cat behaviorist.

For training resources for adopted dogs, Animal Services recommends seeking out a CCPDT trainer. View a local directory of trainers here.

What is a CCPDT? A CCPDT means your trainer is a certified professional who has completed over 300 training hours and passed a proctored exam, thereby ensuring the trainer you are utilizing has the knowledge and skills to assist you best. All CCPDT trainers also sign a Code of Ethics including the principle of LIMA (Least Intrusive Minimally Aversive) methods of training. These are the least harmful methods possible to support the training of your pet. All methods by a CCPDT certified trainer are based in scientific studies and current research. These professionals must maintain their certification through continuing education each year to ensure they are up to date on the latest methods. The CCPDT is the only independent, standardized certification for dog training professionals with the sole purpose to provide the highest quality certifications.

if you have just adopted from OCAS we would like to take this opportunity to remind you of two key items from your signed agreement:

  • it is necessary to take your pet to a veterinarian within 72 hours of adoption for a full examination. ocas is unable to guarantee the health of any shelter pet and only performs basic triage exams. having your new pet examined by a full-service veterinary practice is essential.
  • it is necessary to keep your newly adopted pet separate from any existing pets in the household for a minimum of seven (7) days. transitioning to a new home is stressful, be sure to give your new pet ample time to adjust before introducing other animals.

if you would like to obtain a copy of your adoption agreement or any of your adopted pet’s files, please email We also invite you to reach out with any questions you may have as you welcome your new pet to your family. we are here to assist!

Adoption Returns

If the above options for training and decompression time have been attempted and the pet is still not a good fit for the household, adopters do have the option of returning the animal to Orange County Animal Services, within a 30-day period following date of departure from the shelter. Adoption returns do not require an appointment and can be done at any time the shelter is open to the public.

If past the 30-day return window, adopters who reside in Orange County can surrender the pet to Animal Services with an appointment. Adopters who reside outside of Orange County will need to reach out to the shelters in their county for assistance with surrender services.

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