Frequently Asked Questions
Adoptions | Pet Registration | Lost/Found | Tags/Shots | Volunteers
Programs/Services | Spaying and Neutering
What is the adoption procedure?
Visit one of Broward County Animal Care and Adoption’s two shelters. After you select the cat or dog you want to adopt, take an Animal History card to the reception area, complete an adoption application, and, if approved, pay the adoption fee. The shelter accepts both cash and credit cards. You’ll have a new friend for life that, in most cases, you can take home immediately.
How long do dogs and cats remain up for adoption?
Once made available for adoption, some animals are available only for a few minutes. Others can remain at the shelter for several months before they are adopted. There is no time limit for most adoptable animals, as long as they remain healthy.
Where do the adoptable pets come from?
About 75 percent of Broward County Animal Care’s adoptable dogs and cats are lost pets that were not reunited with their family. The remaining pets have been surrendered by their owners, for a variety of reasons.
Do you have puppies and kittens?
The selection of adoptable cats and dogs at the shelter changes daily. We recommend you check the Web site or visit one of Broward County’s two animal adoption centers frequently to find a pet that’s right for you. The most common puppies available for adoption will grow to become medium or large dogs. The shelters occasionally receive puppies that will remain small, but they are not as common.
Do you have a specific breed of dog or cat?
Photos of adoptable dogs and cats are featured on our Web site. In addition, you can call our adoption staff for the latest information on breeds available for adoption at 954-359-1313.
Can I place a deposit on a pet?
Yes, you are able to place a $20 deposit on a Lost Dog or Cat who is hoping to be reunited with his owner.
Pets that have identification on them (collar with a tag, microchip or tattoo) are held by us for five (5) days. Pets without identification are held for three (3) days.
During this “hold/wait” time you may select and place a $20 non-refundable deposit on a Lost Dog or Cat.
If the pet is not claimed by his owner after the hold time is over, you will be notified by us. At that time you can come in, finalize the adoption and take your new best friend home with you!
If the owner does come to claim their dog or cat, you may transfer the $20 deposit to another pet.
Someone else has placed a deposit on the pet I want. Can I place a deposit on the same pet?
Only one potential adopter can place a $20 non-refundable deposit on a shelter dog or cat during the required hold period prior to adoption. However, you may place your name on the pet. If the first potential adopter does not step forward to adopt the pet, you will be contacted and given the opportunity to take your new family member home.
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Which pets are required to wear a Pet Registration Tag?
Broward County’s animal ordinance requires all dogs and cats to wear an official Broward County Pet Registration Tag. Ferrets are not required to wear a county tag. Guard dogs and dogs declared dangerous dogs are required to wear a special Pet Registration Tag.
How is Pet Registration information used?
First and foremost, it is used to help Broward County Animal Care reunite lost pets with their owners. Animal and owner information is entered into our Registratoin database. If a dog or cat with a Pet Registration Tag enters our shelter or we receive a phone call from a resident who has found a pet with a registration, the tag helps us access the owner’s information, so that we can contact them to claim their pet.
Anyone who finds a pet with a Pet Registration Tag or tattoo, with complete or even partial information, can also access the Pet Registration Information Database to find owner information. This search feature is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, so even when Animal Care offices are closed, you can help reunite a lost pet with its owner.
Your purchase of a Pet Registration Tag for your animal helps other shelter pets, too. Funds received from the sale of Pet Registration Tags go to provide food, care and important medical treatments for shelter pets, and $2.00 from every Pet Registration sold funds Broward County SPOT (Stop Pet Overpopulation Together) spay/neuter program.
My pet has a microchip (and/or a tattoo). Does he still need a Pet Registration Tag?
Yes. Broward County animal ordinances require that pets be registered by the age of four months, and renewed annually, even if the animal is already identified by a microchip and/or tattoo. A Registration Tag on a lost animal is a visible sign that the pet is owned. A microchip can only be detected through a special scanning device, and tattoos can fade over time and become hard to decipher, particularly on dark-coated dogs and cats. If your pet is micro-chipped and/or tattooed, be sure to keep animal and owner information updated with the facility that applied the identification. Remember that animal name tags are also helpful as a secondary means of identification.
Does my indoor pet need a Pet Registration Tag?
Yes!! “Indoor” pets are not exempt from Broward County’s Pet Registration requirement. And while you may think that your indoor pet will never get out, Broward County Animal Care receives pets at the shelter every day that are lost or injured. Some have been killed by vehicles because the pet escaped through an open door, or a weak or torn fence or screen.
How do I check my pet’s registration information and update it, if necessary?
Go to the Pet Registration Database and search the database by the tag number. To update your pet record, click RECORD UPDATE. You can also call Animal Care at 954-359-1313 to update your record over the phone.
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I’ve looked at Broward County Animal Care’s Web site and I am visiting the shelters daily. What else can I do to find my lost pet?
There are several other steps you can take.
- Place a lost pet ad in the newspaper. Some papers may offer this service for free.
- Create a Lost Pet Poster with a photo of your pet and your phone number. Make copies of the poster and post them around your neighborhood.
- Talk to your postal carrier or delivery person. They travel the neighborhood on a daily basis. Give them a poster in case they see the pet.
- Place outside of your house an item that has your smell, or your pet’s smell. Dogs and cats have a tremendous sense of smell and the item will act as a beacon so the pet can follow the scent home.
Can I be notified if an animal that is the same breed as my lost animal arrives at the shelter?
Yes. You can subscribe to our Breed Notification System. For the next 30 days, you will receive an email each time the particular breed you designate arrives at the shelter. However, you still need to view shelter pets online and personally visit the shelters to see if your animal is there.
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Are dogs and cats the only carriers of rabies?
No. In South Florida, raccoons can carry the deadly rabies virus. For several years, Broward County Animal Care has distributed thousands of oral rabies vaccinations throughout the County in an effort to control the spread of rabies throughout raccoon populations. Because of this effort there has been no report of rabies in Broward County for more than five years.
If my pet or child is bitten by another dog or cat, how do I know whether that animal has been vaccinated against rabies?
When a bite occurs, Broward County automatically checks its records to see if the bite animal has been vaccinated against rabies. If we do not find a record of a current rabies vaccination, we will require the animal to be quarantined. In addition, we will recommend that the person who was bitten seek treatment for the bite.
What do I do if a bite occurs?
If you, a family member or your pet are bitten by a dog or cat, you should immediately seek medical attention. After consulting with a medical professional, please contact Broward County Animal care to report the bite by calling 954-359-1313. We will take your information and send one of our Animal Care Specialists out to investigate the incident.
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What types of volunteer programs do you have at Animal Care and Adoption?
There are two programs that require different applications: a Volunteer Program, and a Community Service Worker Program. A Community Service Worker is an individual who is ordered by the court system to complete community service hours. Students who are required to complete service hours for school are considered volunteers, not Community Service Workers.
How old do I have to be to become a volunteer?
To participate in the Volunteer Program, you must be at least 14 years old. If you are between the ages of 14 and 17, a special Parental Permission Form must be completed and signed by your parent/guardian. This form must be included with the rest of the Application Packet when you send it in. A copy of your parent/guardian’s photo identification must also be included.
To participate in the Community Service Worker Program, you must be at least 18 years old and submit a Community Service Worker Application.
Every volunteer is required to undergo a criminal background check. Broward County does not accept volunteers with a felony offense.
What happens to my Application Packet once it is received?
Your Application Packet is reviewed to ensure that we have received everything we need to process your volunteer service request. If everything has been properly received and signed, a Background Information Form is processed. A background check is conducted by the County on all volunteer applicants. Once approved as a volunteer, you will be contacted by our Volunteer Administrator who will schedule an interview with you to determine the opportunities that most interest you.
How long does it take for my Application Packet to be approved?
You should hear from us approximately two weeks after we receive your completed Application Packet.
I’m a high school student. Will I be able to perform my required Community Service hours at the shelter?
If you are under the age of 18, your volunteer service opportunities will most likely be in supporting special events. You may or may not be able to accumulate all your required service hours with us.
Who can I call for more information?
You can contact our Volunteer Administrator at 954-359-1313 ext. 9685.
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Can I bring my animal to Animal Care for medical treatment?
The County does not provide medical care or advice for pets that are owned by the public. The local veterinary community provides these services. Consult the Yellow Pages for a veterinarian near you, or ask for recommendations from family, friends, co-workers or neighbors who own pets.
Does your agency board pets?
Animal Care and Adoption is not a boarding facility. This service is offered by private businesses and veterinarians. For a comprehensive list, look in the Yellow Pages under Boarding Kennels.
Are there pet-friendly places in Broward County where I can take my dog to have fun?
Yes! All Broward County parks (except for the nature centers) allow well-behaved dogs on leashes. Broward County operates Barkham at Markham Dog Park, and several cities operate municipal dog parks as well.
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Spaying and Neutering
What does it means to spay or neuter your pet?
Spaying/neutering is a simple surgery that will sterilize or "fix" your pet so it cannot reproduce.
Spaying refers to the sterilization procedure that is done to female cats and dogs. During this surgery, the female reproductive organs are removed. Once your female pet has been spayed, it will not go into "heat" and it will not become pregnant.
Neutering refers to the sterilization procedure for male cats and dogs. During this surgery, the male reproductive organs (testes) are removed and it will be unable to impregnate a female.
Why is spaying/neutering important?
Sterilization is the single most important thing that pet owners can do, not only for their dogs and cats, but for society as a whole.
Pet overpopulation is a critical problem in Broward County and across the United States. Each year, unwanted puppies and kittens are abandoned. They then become injured and killed because they are homeless and lack proper care, shelter and food.
Statistics show that for every person that is born, fifteen dogs and forty-five cats are also born. To keep up with the flood of puppies and kittens, every person would have to own two dogs and six cats during their lifetime (assuming that people live for 75 years and animals for 10 years. A household of five would have to own 10 dogs and 30 cats!
Are there any other benefits to spaying and neutering?
Yes. There are health and other benefits to spaying and neutering, including:
- Improved health and longer life. Pets that have been sterilized live longer and healthier lives. They are less susceptible to diseases such as cancer.
- Reduced medical bills. Because your pet will be healthier, it will not have to go to the veterinarian as often, so medical expenses will be less. In addition, a spayed female will not be able to become pregnant, eliminating the need for trips to the veterinarian before, during and after her pregnancy.
- No unwanted puppies and kittens. Spaying and neutering permanently removes the chances that your female dog or cat will become pregnant.
- Less biting and aggressiveness. Dogs and cats that have not been fixed tend to be more aggressive and exhibit other undesirable behavior. They also tend to fight among each other more. Instead, pet owners report that their dogs and cats are more affectionate once they are spayed or neutered.
- Less roaming. Unsterilized males and females will often wander outside of their regular territory in search of a mate. This need to roam is dangerous since it greatly increases a pet’s chances of becoming lost, injured or killed.
- Less spraying and marking. A neutered male will tend to spray its area less. Messy spotting is also eliminated once a female is spayed.
- Lower registration fees. In Broward County, annual pet registration fees are significantly lower for a dog or cat that has been spayed or neutered. This results in tremendous savings over the life of your pet.
How much does it cost to spay or neuter my pet?
Because pet overpopulation is such a problem in Broward County, there are many low-cost alternatives available to pet owners.
- Broward County Animal Care and Adoption offers the SPOT Program for low-to-moderate income county residents. Under this program, spaying/neutering is offered to qualified pet owners for $10.
- The Humane Society of Broward County has a variety of different programs which provide low cost or free spay/neuters to the public. In addition, they have a Mobile Spay/Neuter Services Unit that travels throughout the county providing spay/neuter to the public. Call 954-463-7729 for more information.
- The Pet Aid League of Broward County consists of more than 20 veterinarians who will provide low-cost spaying and neutering. For more information call 954-463-7729.
- Stray Aid & Rescue offers spaying/neutering services for a nominal fee. For information and rates call 954-816-0799.
- SPAY/USA, is a nationwide network and referral service for affordable spay/neuter services. Visit www.spayusa.org or call 800-248-7729.
How old does my pet have to be to get spayed or neutered?
Veterinarians recommend that a puppy or kitten be at least four months old. Older animals can be sterilized so long as they are in good health.
Will my pet have to stay overnight at the clinic?
No. Spaying/neutering is out-patient surgery. Most pets are able to go home the same day.
Is my pet put under sedation during the procedure?
Yes, your pet will be given a general anesthetic.
Will I have to take the stitches out?
Most veterinarians will want to have a follow-up visit with your pet in order to check the healing process and remove the stitches. Some clinics might even use stitches that will dissolve over time. This will prevent the need for the stitches to be removed.
Can my pet be spayed/neutered while it is in heat?
It is possible to get your pet spayed or neutered while it is in heat.
Will my pet become overweight if it is spayed/neutered?
No. Overweight pets result from overeating and a lack of exercise. Spaying and neutering actually increases a pet’s lifespan and overall health.
Isn't it healthier for a female dog or cat to have at least one litter?
No. There is no reason – medical or otherwise – for a female dog or cat to have at least one litter before being spayed. In fact, this mistaken belief only adds to the pet overpopulation problem. In addition, your female pet could encounter complications during pregnancy that could put her life at risk.
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