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 Frequently Asked Questions



What is the adoption procedure?
Visit the Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Center. 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 families. 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 our Adoption Center changes daily. We recommend you check our Web site or visit our Adoption Center 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 shelter occasionally receives puppies that will remain small, but they are not as common.

Do you have a specific breed of dog or cat?
Information on all of the pets in our care is featured on our Web site. The information is updated continually throughout the day so that it is always current.

Can I place a deposit on a pet?
Yes, you are able to place a $20 non-refundable and non-transferable 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. Dogs without identification are held for three (3) days. Healthy cats are placed into adoption. Unsocialized cats are spayed/neutered and returned to the neighborhood where they were found.

During this “hold/wait” time you may select and place a $20 non-refundable and non-transferable 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!

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 and non-transferable deposit on a dog or cat during the required hold period prior to adoption.

Rabies Tag

Which pets are required to wear a Rabies Tag?
Broward County’s animal ordinance requires ALL dogs and cats to wear an official Broward County Rabies Tag. Ferrets are not required to wear a county tag. Guard dogs and dogs declared dangerous dogs are required to wear a special Registration Tag. There is now a $600 fine for dogs and cats that are not vaccinated against rabies and registered with the County.

How is 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 Registration database. If a dog or cat with a Rabies Tag enters our Adoption Center, 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 Rabies 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 Rabies Tag for your animal helps other shelter pets, too. Funds received from the sale of Rabies Tags go to provide food, care and important medical treatments for shelter pets, as well as spay/neuter programs.

My pet has a microchip (and/or a tattoo). Does he still need a Rabies 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 Rabies 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. Petl name tags are also helpful as a secondary means of identification.

Does my indoor pet need a Rabies Tag?
Yes! “Indoor” pets are NOT EXEMPT from Broward County’s Rabies Tag requirement. And while you may think that your indoor pet will never get out, Broward County Animal Care receives dogs and cats at the Adoption Center every day that are lost or injured, some pets are even killed by vehicles or other hazards. In addition, heavy storms and severe weather that occur throughout South Florida can cause extensive damage to homes, such as torn screens and broken windows. Pets can easily escape through these openings and become lost. Their chances of being reunited with their owners are very slim without a Registration Tag or registered microchip.

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.


I’ve looked at Broward County Animal Care’s Web site and I am visiting the Adoption Center daily. What else can I do to find my lost pet?
There are several other steps you can take.

  1. Place a lost pet ad in the newspaper. Some papers may offer this service for free.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Place an item outside of your house that has your scent, or your pet’s scent. 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 lost pets online and personally visit our Adoption Center to see if your pet is here.

Rabies Vaccination

Is a rabies vaccination required?

Yes, according to Section 4-10 of Broward County's Chapter 4 Ordinance, all dogs and cats 4 months of age or older, must receive a rabies vaccination each year, or every 3 years if a three-year vaccination is administered.

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 investigate the incident.


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 16 years old.

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.

How can I become a Volunteer?
Volunteer opportunities begin by attending an Orientation Meeting in order to learn more about Animal Care and the details of our Volunteer Program. Please see our Volunteer page to sign up to attend an orientation meeting.

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.


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.

Spaying and Neutering

What does it mean 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 several low-cost spay/neuter options available to Broward County pet owners.

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.​​