Orange County shelter reduces adoption fees to $25 as owner surrenders rise

Orange County Animal Services (OCAS) currently has more than 700 animals under its care, with 383 physically at the shelter and an additional 319 in foster care. On Thursday alone, the shelter received 114 animals, 40 of which were confiscated due to concerns about the poor living situation, according to shelter officials.

Bryant Almedia with Orange County Animal Services tells FOX 35 News there's been a massive uptick in owner surrenders. He said 90% of the nearly 400 animals in the shelter have been surrendered by their owner. Many people told shelter volunteers they had to downsize from a home to an apartment that won't allow pets or large dogs. Or, they can't afford the fees and pet rent some apartment complexes require, especially with the rising cost of rent and housing. 

"It's heartbreaking. A lot of these people don’t want to surrender these animals," said Almedia. "We understand. Everyone’s been hit pretty hard, gas prices - everyone is effected in different ways. It trickles down, and unfortunately, it’s the pets that suffer."

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In response to the high volume of animals in the shelter’s care, Animal Services is urgently requesting the community’s support in a number of ways:

  • Residents that have found stray pets are encouraged to take steps to reunite them with the owner prior to bringing them to the shelter.
  • Animal Services also encourages owners on the brink of having to surrender their pet to explore all options before resorting to the shelter.
  • In order to help the animals currently housed at the shelter, Animal Services is urgently requesting adoption and foster support.

Adoption fees for both dogs and cats are currently reduced to $25. Those interested in adopting are encouraged to check out the available pets on the shelter’s website here. More information on the adoption process can be found here. Additionally, the shelter is actively recruiting new members to its foster care program.