Frequently Asked Questions


What is the adoption process? 

To keep staff, volunteers, and the public safe, appointments will continue for pet adoptions, fostering, and owner surrender. Sick or injured animals will be admitted without an appointment. Appointments may be scheduled by calling 888-452-7381. NOTE: Masks and social distancing will be required in all six LA Animal Services Centers.

  • Visit and identify an animal you would like to adopt.
  • Call 888-452-7381 with the Animal ID number or A# (example: A1234567).
  • LA Animal Services will share all the information available on that animal.
  • If you’re interested in moving forward with the adoption, LA Animal Services will take your information and schedule a pick-up appointment.
  • During the appointment, staff will introduce you to your selected animal.
  • To prevent the spread of COVID-19, facial masks and social distancing will be required in all six LA Animal Services Centers. 
  • Appointments will be scheduled daily from 11am to 4pm.

As part of the adoption process, you will need to present a photo I.D. Adoption fees may be paid with cash, check or credit card. To find out more about our adoption fees, go to:

What does the adoption fee cover?

The adoption fee covers spay or neuter surgery, if necessary. It also covers the microchip and vaccinations. In addition, each adopter receives a voucher for a free veterinary exam at a participating vet within a set time period. Additional fees may apply for dog licenses.

Do I get to take my new pet home the same day? 

That depends on whether or not the animal is spayed or neutered. If they are, then yes, you get to take them right home! Cats are required to leave in a carrier and dogs are required to leave on leash – you can buy temporary carriers and leashes from the clerk. If the animal is not yet spayed or neutered, they will stay with us overnight and have surgery the next day. You’ll be able to pick them up from a participating veterinarian in the afternoon (usually around 3 pm). If we are particularly busy, it may take more days before your pet is ready to come home.

What if it doesn’t work out? Can I bring my adopted animal back?

While any new addition to the family should be allowed some time to adjust and make mistakes, if you feel like a new pet is not going to work out, you can absolutely bring them back. If you bring them back within 10 days, you get a credit to adopt another animal within 30 days. If it’s been more than 10 days, you can still surrender your pet but there will be no credit given.

Can I put an animal on ‘hold’?

No, the only way you can place an animal on hold is if you are the person who found a stray animal and brought it to the shelter, and you asked for First Rights. If you have First Rights, you get an exclusive opportunity to adopt during the first hour of the animal’s availability. If you don’t show up during that hour, anyone can adopt the animal.

I am concerned for an animal that has been here a long time, and will adopt if the animal is going to be euthanized. What should I do?

Request to be placed on the animal’s record as an ‘Interested Party’. Ask to speak with the Lifesave Liaison and the ACT Supervisor, and then check in frequently. You can also consider fostering the animal while you help search for an adopter or rescue.

My pet is missing – what do I do?

According to an ASPCA survey, about half of missing lost dogs and a third of missing cats were found by searching their local neighborhoods. We recommend utilizing as many online resources to find your lost pet, including:

  • Posting a photo and information about your lost pet on LA City Lost and Found Pets Facebook page, pawboost, shadow app or Nextdoor.
  • Uploading your lost pet’s photo on Petco Lost Love  which uses facial recognition technology to make finding lost pets quicker and easier.
  • Putting flyers up in your neighborhood.
  • Looking through the Lost Pet Database.
  • And finally, don’t give up – many pets take a while to find their way to us, so check back often.

I found my lost pet here! What do I do now?

Take note of the animal’s I.D. number and call 888-452-7381 and let the staff member you speak with that your lost pet is at the Center. You will be asked to show some proof that your pet is truly yours – vet records, pictures, etc. Once you have proven that the animal is your pet, you will pay a fee to redeem them, based on various factors, such as whether the animal is spayed or neutered, microchipped, licensed (for dogs) and whether or not the animal has been impounded before.

Do I have to spay or neuter my pet?

Yes! The City of Los Angeles requires dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered. There are also health and behavioral benefits to spaying and neutering for your pet. Free Spay & Neuter Certificates (vouchers) are available to qualified resident of Los Angeles and Discount Spay & Neuter Coupons are available for all City residents. Each household is eligible for discounts for 3 dogs and 3 cats. Vouchers and certificates may be downloaded online by visitingt:

Do I have to get my new pet microchipped?

Yes. The microchip is tiny and seems to cause little to no pain. It is the single best tool to reunite you quickly with your pet, should they ever be lost. Anyone can contact any of our L.A. Animal Services Shelters and schedule an appointment to have their companion animal microchipped. The cost for the general public is $15.00 per animal. More information:

Do I have to get my pet vaccinated?

Yes. Regular veterinary care and vaccinations are important to keep your companion animals healthy. You will want to visit veterinary offices and decide who your best friend’s doctor is going to be before he or she gets sick. Ask your friends who have pets for a recommendation. Look for an office that is clean and smells good, the receptionist and staff are welcoming. Make an appointment to see the entire clinic and to meet the veterinarian. If you are uncomfortable for any reason, find another veterinarian.

How many dogs and cats may I own in my home?

You may own up to three (3) dogs and up to three (3) cats in your home for a possible total of six (6) pets without having to register a dog or cat kennel with L.A. Animal Services. To learn more about acquiring a kennel permit, please click here.

What type of food should I feed my new pet, and how much?

We cannot recommend any brand of food. Your best bet is to ask a veterinarian, or a knowledgeable person at a local pet supply store, or to do a little online research. Packages of pet food have serving size suggestions based on your pet’s weight.

How long do you keep the animals?

As long as we have room at our shelters and it is in the animal’s best interest. There is no set amount of time that an animal stays with us.

Do you euthanize all the animals that don’t get adopted?

No. We work closely with our many rescue partners to place animals, and through our animal-loving foster community, pets are placed in foster care. We also have an extensive volunteer community who work hard to network the animals in our Centers to find permanent homes. Collaboration is key and we will continue to work with the community, rescue partners, volunteers, adopters, and fosters to continue our life saving efforts.

I want to volunteer! What should I do?

There are two ways to get the application – there is an online application form (Adult Volunteer Application, Minor Volunteer Application), or you can fill out a paper application form (available in every lobby) and bring it to orientation at the Animal Services Center where you want to volunteer.

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