Adoption by Appointment: Making Safe and Speedy Pet Adoptions a Priority

2022 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Orange County, Calif., CA

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About the Program

Category: County Administration and Management (Best in Category)

Year: 2022

People love pets and OC Animal Care (OCAC) has been in the business of matching animals with their forever homes for over 50 years. With a strong record of balancing public safety and animal welfare, OCAC hits the mark daily serving the animal care needs of 14 contract cities and County unincorporated area. In fact, OCAC’s pet adoption services are so popular with the community that the shelter is open seven days a week to ensue animals are released to potential adopters at the earliest chance. Even with these extended hours, OCAC ran into problems with adopters lining up for appointments, arguing over animals, and not having enough time to visit with a potential pet. OCAC implemented Adoption by Appointment and the results were immediate. The new system features over 400 appointments/week and provides a concierge-level of customer service to adopters. It minimizes wait times and provides adopters with individualized attention. Adoption by Appointment relieves stress on animals and allows staff to see the animal’s true personality, ensuring that the right pet is matched to an adopter. It decreases in-shelter customer altercations and has substantially reduced the in-shelter bite rate which protects the safety of our adopters, volunteers and staff.