Adoption Policies

Contra Costa Animal Services Department Adoption Information

Effective January 1, 2016, all animals can be made available on any given day and time.  Potential adopters may check the status of the animal(s) in person, by phone or online at  Animals that have been made available for adoption may be located throughout the shelter.  Please check the animal card for “available” status.  See the volunteers or counter staff if you have questions.

Persons interested in adopting an available animal must pull the animal’s kennel card and bring it to the volunteer office for a potential adoption.  An adoption questionnaire will be asked by the volunteer staff to provide guidance and support for potential owners.

Note; if the kennel card is not located at the kennel, the animal may be in the process of being adopted. If the animal and the card are missing it may be out getting acquainted with a potential adopter or being exercised. If this is the case, contact a volunteer or counter staff for more information.   

If you have any other questions regarding an animal adoption, please direct your questions to the front counter staff. 

Thank you for your cooperation and we hope your visit at the Animal Shelter has been a pleasant one.

Please feel free to visit us on the web at

PLEASE NOTE: In cases where available animals have more than one interested adopter who arrive simultaneously, management reserves the right to hold a lottery to determine first right of adoption. The selected adopter will be given first right to adopt the animal of choice.

For Renters
If you are a renter, you will need to provide proof of your landlord's approval stating that you are allowed to have pets in your residence, or you will need to provide your landlord's contact information so that Animal Services can obtain authorization prior to any adoptions.

60-Day Get Acquainted Period
You and your new pet have 60 days to become acquainted. If it does not work out, bring the animal and all paperwork back within 60 days from the date of adoption. You will have 60 days from the date of return to adopt another animal.

If you find another animal within 60 days, the money paid on the first adoption will apply toward the exchange, with a maximum of three exchanges allowed after the initial adoption.

Free Physical Exam
Within 72 hours (Sundays and holidays excluded) of adopting your new pet, you may take him or her to a participating veterinarian for a free physical examination. Please call first for an appointment.

Important: There will be a charge for all vaccinations, medications, and/or supplies. If the animal is sick, have the veterinarian state the problem on the bottom of your receipt and sign and date it. Bring the animal, along with the signed receipt and all other paperwork, to Animal Services within 48 hours after the exam for a refund or exchange.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do I have to pay for a license for a cat?  Why do I have to spay/neuter the animal I adopt?

Answer: County Ordinance 416-8.016 states “Dogs or cats may not be sold for purposes other than keeping of pets, and may not be sold without first having been licensed, neutered or spayed, and vaccinated against rabies, or a fee therefore having been deposited. State Law requires that all animals adopted from a shelter be spayed or neutered.

2. Why do I have to microchip my animal?

Answer: The Animal Services Department policy is to microchip all animals before they leave the shelter.  By micro-chipping your pet, you give your pet the best possible chances of being returned to you if it gets out.  A microchip ensures permanent identification that cannot be lost.