FAQs

Can I bring my animals in for a checkup?
Sorry!  Our Veterinary Hospital is not open to members of the public.  They only provide medical services to animals in our care.

How much does it cost to adopt a pet?
Dogs:      $115 for Ventura County residents (which includes a temporary pet license) and $90 if you are an out-of-county resident.
Cats:       $80 plus a license fee if applicable.
Rabbits:  $50 (learn more at www.vcas.us/bunny-brigade/)
Other:    For reptiles, birds, livestock or other species, please contact us at (805) 388-4341.

What if I find a stray dog at 2:00am?
If you can keep the dog safe in your home until we open, please do so.  If you cannot provide temporarily care for the dog, please call (805) 388-4341 and use OPTION 4 to be put through to our after-hours service.

What if I find injured wildlife?
You may contact either Camarillo Wildlife Rehabilitation at (805) 482-7617 or the Camarillo Animal Shelter at (805) 388-4341.

Why is a pet license so much cheaper if my dog is spayed/neutered?
The discount is an incentive to have pets spayed or neutered.  There is an overpopulation of animals in our community and spay/neuter is the only proven method of curtailing uncontrolled breeding.  View pet licensing fees at www.vcas.us/licensing.

Can my child volunteer?
Sorry! We do not have a youth volunteer program for those under the age of 18.

Do you have Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, or Therapy Animals for adoption?
(SOURCE:  AVMA – American Veterinary Medical Association)

Animals can play a very important role assisting people with disabilities and as part of therapeutic activities. Most people are aware of the role of Service Animals, such as guide dogs, but other types of assistance animals may be less familiar.
 
A more recently developed legal category of assistance animals is the Emotional Support Animal (ESA).  These are animals that provide companionship and emotional support for people diagnosed with a psychological disorder. They are documented by a letter from a human health professional (i.e. your doctor), which legally guarantees that they may live with their handler and accompany them on aircraft, exempt from the fees that would be charged for a companion animal.
Some people misrepresent their animals as Assistance Animals in order to bring them to places where pets are not allowed, to avoid fees, or out of a misunderstanding of the animal’s role. It is important for veterinarians to assist their clients in correctly identifying their animals, and to provide care and advice consistent with the animal’s role.

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The AVMA recognizes and supports the federal definition of service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act; the federal regulations for emotional support animals under  the Fair Housing Act and Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and provides guidelines related to animal-assisted interventions. At its July 2017 meeting, the AVMA House of Delegates approved a policy on the veterinarian’s role in supporting appropriate selection and use of service, assistance and therapy animals​​ proposed by the Steering Committee on Human-Animal Interactions.

Learn more about assistance animals with the AVMA report: Assistance animals: rights of access and the problem of fraud. Fraud can be a vexing issue, and it’s important for veterinarians to actively support the appropriate use of assistance animals and anti-fraud initiatives so that undue burden is not placed on people using these animals in their intended roles.

Legal context for assistance animal use – definitions
Classification​ ​Definition ​As defined by
​Assistance animal ​“Any animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability,” as defined by the ADA.4 “Individuals with a disability may be entitled to keep an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation in housing facilities that otherwise impose restrictions or prohibitions on animals. In order to qualify for such an accommodation, the assistance animal must be necessary to afford the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling or to participate in the housing service or program. Further, there must be a relationship, or nexus, between the individual’s disability and the assistance the animal provides. If these requirements are met, a housing facility, program or service must permit the assistance animal as an accommodation, unless it can demonstrate that allowing the assistance animal would impose an undue financial or administrative burden or would fundamentally alter the nature of the housing program or services.” ​U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (FHEO-2013-01)
​Service animal ​“Any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.” Miniature horses have been added as a specific provision to the ADA. The miniature horse must be housebroken, under the handler’s control, can be accommodated for by the facility, and will not compromise safety regulations. ​Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 (Section 35.136)
​Any animal that is individually trained or able to provide assistance to a qualified person with a disability; or any animal shown by documentation to be necessary for the emotional well-being of a passenger… Psychiatric service animals are recognized as service animals, but are considered to be emotional support animals and, therefore, subject to the applicable regulatory requirements, i.e. documentation. ​Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and CFR Part 382
​Emotional support animal ​An emotional support animal (ESA) may be an animal of any species, the use of which is supported by a qualified physician, psychiatrist or other mental health professional based upon a disability-related need. An ESA does not have to be trained to perform any particular task. ESAs do not qualify as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but they may be permitted as reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities under the Fair Housing Act. The Air Carrier Access Act provides specific allowances for ESAs traveling on airlines, though documentation may need to be provided. ​Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. Part 3604) and Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and C.F.R. Part 382.117
​Therapy animal ​A therapy animal is a type of animal-assisted intervention in which there is a “goal directed intervention in which an animal meeting specific criteria is an integral part of the treatment process. Animal-assisted therapy is provided in a variety of settings, and may be group or individual in nature.” ​Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and CFR Part 382; AVMA Animal-Assisted Interventions: Definitions

Find additional information, including reference citations, in Assistance animals: rights of access and the problem of fraud (PDF).

Why is rabies such a big deal when there are so many other deadly diseases?
The Rabies virus is a deadly disease which can be passed from animal to human, a trait that not all deadly viruses have.  When symptoms become present, it is often too late.  Humane can be vaccinated against the Rabies virus much like an animal can, however the process is more involved, often requiring a series of vaccinations.  The Rabies virus is present in Ventrua County, mainly within the bat population.

How can I work at VCAS?
All employment opportunities are offered through the County of Ventura website at www.ventura.org/jobs.

How long do you keep animals before they are euthanized?
In 2012, Ventura County Animal Services embarked on an unprecedented life-saving mission that changed the very foundation of our department. We ended the humane euthanasia of healthy, adoptable or treatable animals.  This meant that animals entering our shelter system no longer had a time limit.  They were no longer “at-risk” due to lack-of-space or their length-of-stay.

Do you have an Amazon Wish List?
Yes.  In fact, we update our Amazon Wish List regularly with items we need the most.  Items can be shipped directly to the Camarillo Animal Shelter at 600 Aviation Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010.  Thank you for support! (https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/V6KOK9PWRSF6)

I just adopted a pet and what is the first thing I should do?
The first thing we recommend is for you to use your voucher for a free medical exam and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.  Shelter pets do get a physical exam at the time of surgery to make sure they are healthy enough for anesthesia, however if the animal is already altered when they arrive at VCAS and they do not appear sick or injured, they likely won’t have a physical exam.  Your veterinarian will be able to perform that service for you, examining all organ systems within the body to see if there is any cause for concern.

There are also a number of viruses and bacterial organisms in the shelter environment that may lead to an upper respiratory infection (URI).  Although we all strive to make our animals as comfortable as possible in a safe and healthy environment, the shelter can be stressful.  Stress is known to compromise the immune system which could lead an infection in a normally healthy animal.  Your newly adopted pet may not have shown symptoms of illness here at the shelter, but they may start to show signs of sneezing or nasal discharge while at home.  While sometimes this condition may be self-limiting, it is always the best practice to take your new pet to your own veterinarian for advice.

What if my male dog’s neuter incision seems to be open?
At VCAS we practice what is called a scrotal incision and castration technique on male dogs.  We make an incision directly in the scrotal tissue and remove the testicles through the incision.  We ligate the spermatic cords with appropriate surgical suture and then in some cases leave the incision open to drain.  This may seem like it will not heal, but it is an accepted practice to allow drainage in order to discourage infection. It will heal on its own as long as the dog doesn’t contaminate the incision by licking and he’s kept calm and quiet during the post-operative period.

What does it mean to be a Socially Conscious Shelter?
Ventura County Animal Services has joined a growing number of animal welfare organizations across the country in adopting a new sheltering framework. This model is called Socially Conscious Sheltering (SCS).

This framework aligns with our core values of being an organization that encourages cooperation and collaboration with all stakeholders (elected officials, community members, private veterinarians, transfer/rescue partners, law enforcement, non-profit organizations, local businesses, volunteers and other animal welfare agencies).  We wish to promote a positive culture of mutual respect and support.

VCAS utilized the no-kill equation to help guide us on our initial journey.  Through it, we created many new positions and programs to increase our live release rate.  The Socially Conscious Sheltering model and the No-Kill movement are not mutually exclusive, meaning both exist within our agency.  We are excited to embrace the SCS model to help us continue our lifesaving efforts.

It is important to note that the adoption of this new sheltering framework did not change any processes or practices at VCAS.  It is simply a new identifier.  We are still fully committed to our life-saving practices where no healthy or treatable animal is euthanized for any reason including length-of-stay or capacity.

Given your adoption of this new SCS model, will you continue your efforts to maintain the no-kill benchmark of having a 90% or higher Live Release Rate?
Yes. VCAS continues to strive to maintain a 90% or higher live release rate. The adoption of the Socially Conscious Sheltering model does not change our day-to-day life-saving efforts. SCS is simply a framework that more accurately describes who we are as an inclusive, positive, and compassionate animal welfare organization. We continue to work towards finding the best possible outcomes for all animals which is the fundamental goal of the Socially Conscious Sheltering model.

SCS provides a clear message about our commitment to providing quality care to the people and animals of Ventura County.

What is Socially Conscious Sheltering?

Socially Conscious Sheltering is a compassionate, transparent and thoughtful model for animal welfare organizations, whether that organization is a non-profit rescue group, humane organization, private rescue or a municipal shelter like VCAS. There are eight (8) tenets of Socially Conscious Sheltering:

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1. Place every healthy and safe animal.
Every single one. Healthy is defined as either having no signs of clinical disease or evidence of disease that a veterinarian determines has a good or excellent prognosis for a comfortable life. Safe means that the animal has not exhibited behavior that is likely to result in severe injury or death to another animal or person.
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2. Ensure every unwanted or homeless pet has a safe place to go for shelter and care.
An animal’s opportunity to be nurtured, healed, and rehomed should not depend on their age or condition—every community must have a shelter that accepts all animals brought to it. It is unacceptable to turn animals away because they are too old, too sick, too broken.
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3. Assess the medical and behavioral needs of homeless animals and ensure these needs are thoughtfully addressed.
Animals housed in shelters and rescues must be assessed for disease and injury and must have all medical conditions addressed so the animal does not suffer. These animals must also have their behavioral needs assessed and met, including enrichment sufficient to make them comfortable and to prevent self-destructive, obsessive-compulsive coping behaviors.
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4. Align shelter policy with the needs of the community.
Does the community allow trap-neuter-return programs? If so, offer them. Will members of your community adopt animals with chronic disease, are they willing to assume the time and expense of managing that disease? If so, with full disclosure, place them in these homes. Socially Conscious Shelters listen to their communities.
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5. Alleviate suffering and make appropriate euthanasia decisions.
Compassionate euthanasia is a gift. It is not acceptable to let a terminally ill, suffering animal languish in a cage until it dies naturally when compassionate euthanasia can ease that endless pain. It is not acceptable to house a known dangerous animal who cannot be safely placed in the community for years until it goes crazy in a cage. Each euthanasia decision is difficult, and every decision must consider the welfare of the individual animal.
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6. Enhance the human-animal bond through safe placements and post adoption support.
Integrating a living being into a new home can be difficult. As adoption agencies, Socially Conscious Shelters have a responsibility to support the new family. This can mean post-adoption behavior advice, classes for new pet caregivers, addressing shelter related medical needs and being willing to accept the animal back if the pet and the family are not a good fit. It also means not placing animals into homes that disrupt the human-animal bond by injuring children, other pets and other people. There are many behavior issues that can be addressed through behavior modification and positive experiences. There are other behaviors that are dangerous and that cannot be mitigated.
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7. Consider the health, wellness and safety of animals for each community when transferring animals.
Moving dogs and cats from communities that do not have homes available for them to communities where people are actively seeking pets saves lives. However, bringing pets into a community is a responsibility. It is a responsibility to the animals already living in that community to not bring in infectious diseases that would make them sick. It is a responsibility to those living within the community to bring in animals that w­ill live in harmony. And there is a responsibility to the community from which animals are being moved to impact that community’s animal welfare struggles through humane education and spay and neuter programs.
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8. Foster a culture of transparency, ethical decision making, mutual respect, continual learning and collaboration.

Socially Conscious Shelters are committed to full transparency. This can include reporting accurate statistics, sharing policies, and fully and quickly admitting when mistakes are made. Integrity must be the foundation of all decisions. Every shelter can learn something from every other shelter—it is important to be curious and to share innovative solutions to common problems. Only by working together can we ensure the best outcomes for all animals.

Q: How was the Socially Conscious Sheltering movement developed and initiated?

A: The Socially Conscious Sheltering movement was created because of the intense need for this conversation. In Colorado, four large animal shelters practiced Socially Conscious Sheltering without having articulated it as such. The CEOs of these shelters (Jan McHugh Smith, Judy Calhoun, Lisa Pederson and Apryl Steele) met to discuss their animal welfare beliefs, including shelter practices. Out of that conversation came the Socially Conscious Sheltering model. The model was then shared with shelter CEOs from across the United States for their feedback, each shelter with different communities, intake policies and levels of community engagement. The insight was incorporated into the fundamental goals of Socially Conscious Sheltering, and a website, www.scsheltering.org, was created. Before a marketing strategy could be developed, Socially Conscious Sheltering was adopted by the animal sheltering community and by several municipalities.  – Source: www.SCSheltering.org.
You can can help create a Socially Conscious Animal Community
Veterinarians can help create a Socially Conscious Animal Community
The fundamental good of a Socially Conscious Animal Community is to create best outcomes for all animals
Media Partners can help create a Socially Conscious Animal Community
Rescue Groups can help create a Socially Conscious Animal Community
Law Enforcement can help create a Socially Conscious Animal Community
Policy Makers can help create a Socially Conscious Animal Community

For more information on the Socially Conscious Sheltering model, please visit www.scsheltering.org.