Government, non-profit or private animal shelters, commonly called “the pound,” provide shelter and care for stray, lost or abandoned animals. All shelters offer healthy animals for adoption; there is usually a fee. Most provide pictures of adoptable and found/stray animals on their website. Animals are kept at the shelter until claimed by their owners; adopted to new owners; placed with a rescue or adoption organization; or euthanized. Most shelters accept animals from residents of specific cities only. For animal control services, including found/stray animals, see Emergency Resources. Also see Adoption and Rescue, for rescues that accept owner-relinquished pets or animals from the public.

Note: Shelters fall into two categories: open or limited admission. An “open admission” facility accepts animals from animal control and the public no matter the circumstance. “Limited admission” facilities have restrictions on incoming animals brought in by the public; however, they accept any animals brought to them by animal control.

Most shelters practice euthanasia for a variety of reasons and circumstances. There are few true no-kill facilities. All shelters work with rescue groups, sanctuaries and other animal-welfare organizations to find families for homeless animals.

If you can no longer take care of your pet or if you found or lost a pet, see Emergency Resources for tips on what to do.

If you are concerned about the life of an animal, ask about the shelter’s policy before you take the animal in. Many adoption and rescue organizations offer advice and/or referrals about found/lost/stray animals (see Adoption and Rescue for a list of organizations).

Coastal Animal Services Authority

Provides care for stray animals found in Dana Point, Monarch Beach, San Clemente and Talega. Accepts owner-relinquished pets; fee applies.

Irvine Animal Care Center

Available animals for adoption. Provides for stray animals found within Irvine only. Accepts Irvine resident owner-relinquished pets by appointment; fee applies.

LA County Downey Animal Shelter

A branch of the LA Department of Animal Care provides temporary care for animals found in designated cities. Find cities they serve on their website. Accepts owner-relinquished pets; fee applies.

Laguna Beach Animal Shelter

Provides care for stray animals found in Laguna Beach or Laguna Woods only. Does not accept owner-surrendered pets or animals brought in by the public, but can provide referrals for alternative options.

Long Beach Animal Care Services

Provides services for stray and owner-relinquished pets (fee applies) from Long Beach, Cerritos, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach and Signal Hill. Services also include dog training, low-cost clinics, spay/neuter assistance and humane investigations.

Mission Viejo Animal Services Center

Provides care for stray animals, owner-relinquished animals and animal control services for the residents of Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo, and Rancho Santa Margarita only. Staff is available after hours for emergency services only.

Newport Beach Animal Shelter / Home Free Rescue and Sanctuary

Newport Beach Police Department provides care to found animals in Newport Beach only. Donations and volunteers needed.

OC Animal Care

Provides animal control and shelter services for many Orange County cities (see Emergency Resources for a complete list of cities). Found exotic pets, including reptiles and birds, are adopted by a drawing every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

Orange County Humane Society

Provides care for stray and owner-relinquished pets (fee applies) from Garden Grove.

Seal Beach Animal Care Center

Provides care and adoption services for stray dogs and cats from Seal Beach only.

Southeast Area Animal Control Authority

SEAACA provides temporary care for animals found within various LA County cities as well as Buena Park and La Palma (see Animal Control under Emergency Resources for a list of cities).

spcaLA P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village & Education Center

Provides sheltering and adoptions for homeless animals, conducts cruelty investigations, disaster animal rescue, animal training, and humane education programs.