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Orange County Animal Services Announces Record Live Release Rate

Orange County Animal ServicesOrange County, Fla. – Orange County Animal Services has published its data for fiscal year 2021, which ranged from October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021. In that timeframe the shelter received 13,527 domestic animals and achieved an overall live release rate[1] of 91% for these pets, the highest in the shelter’s 52-year history.

Trends in the data reveal the COVID-19 pandemic is still having an impact on shelter operations. Despite the numerous efforts to solicit visitors and volunteers, both categories remain lower than in years past.

“During the height of the pandemic, we were overwhelmed with people wanting to help, they wanted to find a way to keep their animals during hardships, they wanted to adopt, to foster, to volunteer,” said Diane Summers, manager for Orange County Animal Services. “That support has dried up over recent months and we’ve struggled with capacity issues and finding homes for some of our long-stay pets.”

Despite the challenges, the shelter was able to secure live release placement, in the form of adoptions, rescue placements, owner reclaims and the trap-neuter-return program, for a record number of pets. For context:

Fiscal Year Dog Release Rate Cat Release Rate Overall
2017 93% 59% 73%
2018 93% 67% 78%
2019 94% 74% 82%
2020 96% 83% 88%
2021 96% 88% 91%


“We’re incredibly thankful to our community and our network of supporters – including our volunteers, foster parents and rescue partners, for helping to achieve this milestone,” said Summers. “I invite and encourage anyone not already involved to consider finding an outlet to help; pet overpopulation continues to be a challenge in this community and it will take all of us to continue this progress forward.”

The shelter’s data is available on the website and the end of year report is linked. Animal Services is actively recruiting volunteers and foster parents to its team and welcomes donations to its supplemental programs, like the Spay It Forward campaign.

[1] Live release rate is a common shelter metric and is calculated by dividing the number of live outcomes by the total number of outcomes excluding pets whose owner requested humane euthanasia and animals who were turned over for disposal.

About Orange County Government: Orange County Government strives to serve its residents and guests with integrity, honesty, fairness and professionalism. Located in Central Florida, Orange County includes 13 municipalities and is home to world-famous theme parks, one of the nation’s largest convention centers and a thriving life science research park. Seven elected members make up the Board of County Commissioners, including the Mayor, who is elected countywide. For more information, please visit or go to Orange County Government’s social media channels.

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