Frequently Asked Questions

What is the adoption process?
Once you choose an animal you want to adopt, take note of the animal’s I.D. number and take it to the animal care staff in the lobby. Once you receive paperwork from an Animal Care Technician in the Animal Receiving area, you can go to the Clerk or Customer Services windows to finish the process. You will need to present a photo I.D. You can pay the adoption fee with cash, check or credit card. The animal will be given a final look by the veterinarian, receive any vaccinations or a microchip if needed. Information on our adoption fees:

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 licences.

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.

I want to adopt an animal that is not available yet. What should I do?
Come to the Animal Services Center on the day the animal is available, right when we open. Don’t worry about being first in the door – in the event that more than one person wants an animal, staff will conduct a silent auction to determine who gets to adopt.

What happens if someone else at the Center wants to adopt the same animal?
If there is more than one party wanting to adopt an animal, staff will conduct a silent auction. Each interested party writes down the amount they are willing to pay to adopt the animal. The largest amount wins.

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? First, look through the Lost Pet Database or walk through the animal shelter and look at all the animals. If you don’t see your pet, talk to staff, your pet may be in the medical or observation areas that are tucked away from the public. There is also a book in each lobby with pictures of animals that are in non-public areas. If you still don’t see your animal, fill out a Lost Pet flyer and leave it at animal shelter – if you can, add a color photo to it. Post your pet’s picture with your contact information online and around your neighborhood. 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 take it to the staff in the lobby. 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) and Discount Spay & Neuter Coupons are available for Los Angeles City residents at all six (6) LA City Animal Shelters. Please be sure to bring a valid photo ID with you. Each household is eligible for discounts for 3 dogs and 3 cats. To apply, visit:

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 hard to find other options. We work closely with many rescue partners to place animals. We also transfer animals between our six animal services centers depending on space available.

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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