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Animal Services FAQ's

What is Animal Services/Animal Control?

An entity responsible for enforcing ordinances relating to the control, impoundment, and disposition of animals. The entity takes custody of stray domestic animals and facilitates their return to, or placement in, a home environment, defend animals from abuse and neglect and protect the public from aggressive or dangerous animals. The animal control facility puts a 3-day stray hold on each animal while vetting them to determine the best course of action to take. 

What is an Animal Shelter/Humane Society?

An establishment, usually a nonprofit agency, supported by charitable contributions. They provide a temporary home for surrendered or stray dogs, cats, and other animals that are cared for and then offered for adoption. 

What Animals Does LCHS For?

LCHS provides service for companion animals, meaning dogs and cats. We are also contracted through the county to offer services for ferrets and licensed Vietnamese pigs, though our facility has never had the need to help with either.

Who Do I Contact on Days Animal Services is Closed?

You can contact Animal Services and leave a message, however, after-hours calls are served for emergencies only. Non-emergency complaints will be addressed on the next business day.  Emergencies include aggressive or severely injured animals.

If I See a Deceased Dog or Cat in the Roads or on the Road, Who Do I Call?

Animal Services is unable to transport deceased animals. The city or county will need to be notified to remove the animal. If you are unsure whether or not the animal is deceased or just very injured, please contact Animal Services. If you know the animal is deceased, please contact:


City of Lake City: Public Works for side streets (386) 758-5400 or DOT for main roadways (386) 758-3700

Columbia County: Landfill (386)752-6050 

I Found a Stray Dog or Cat on a Day Animal Services is Closed, What Do I Do?

If the animal is a danger to the community, please call Animal Services and leave a voicemail with animal description, location, and a brief description of the behavior. If they do not appear to be a danger to the community, please hold the animal until the next business day to bring it to our facility. 

The Adoption Center is Open on Saturday, Can I Bring an Animal to them?

No. The adoption center is not equipped with the ability to process an intake. Please refrain from bringing stray or surrendered animals to the center. 

Can I Borrow a Trap From LCHS; What Happens if I Catch Something?

Yes, you can borrow a trap. Fees may apply, please contact Animal Services for more information.  When you catch a companion animal, please contact us for further instructions. If you catch a wild animal, please contact FWC (386) 758-0525. 

I Came Across a Neglected Animal That is NOT a Dog or Cat, What Do I Do?

Please contact Columbia County Sheriff’s Office at (386) 758-2005. 

Can I Make an Anonymous Complaint?

All of our calls are subject to public records laws and once a case is closed, all information becomes public record.  

When I Made a Complaint, Animal Services Came Out But Did Not Remove the Animal. Why?

Our policy dictates that we issue a warning/notice of violation on the first offense. Please contact us for information on our complaint process. 

I Found a Kitten or Litter of Kittens, Will Mom Return, or Should I Bring Them to Animal Services?

No, leave them!  In most cases, their mother will return and is hiding to protect her babies. Please leave and check back in a few hours, if she does not return, please contact Animal Services.  

Should I Report Dogs Running Loose Even if They are not Bothering?

Absolutely. We need to know the history of the animal and owner so we can address the situation before it becomes dangerous or the dog gets hurt.  

Does Columbia County Require a Pet License?

No, we do not currently have licensing requirements in our county.

If I Feed an Animal, Does That Mean it is Mine?

If you provide food/care to an animal longer than seven days, the animal is considered yours.  Please call us immediately if you have a stray animal show up on your property. 

Why, When Surrendering My Companion Animal, Do I Have to Pay a Fee?

As an owner, the surrender fee for Columbia County residents is $40 per animal and $100 for out of county residents. Please note, if we do not have space, we will not accept the surrender. We will not accept an owner surrender if we do not have space because that would require us to euthanize an animal to accept yours. Our waiting period is approximately 2 weeks and we thank you for your patience. The fees cover spay/neuter, vaccinations, and medical treatment as necessary/appropriate.  Anything not spent on the aforementioned areas will go towards the daily care of the animal.  

Am I Responsible for Paying a Fee to Bring in a Stray Animal?

No. There is no fee for stray animal intakes in our county.  The person bringing an animal in must reside in Columbia County with a valid ID showing residency.  


Adoption Center FAQ's

Coming Soon. . .


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What is a Pet Foster Parent?

A pet foster parent temporarily opens their heart and homes to homeless pets while they are waiting to be adopted. The foster parent provides basic care including love and affection, food, water, and shelter. A foster parent is responsible for preparing a dog or cat for its permanent home by teaching it basic manners. 

Who Can Foster?

If you are over 18 and can open your heart and home to a homeless animal, you can foster. (If you are not the owner of the home, you must have the permission of the owner to foster.) Each animal may have its own criteria for the perfect foster home. Some animals have special needs but there are more than enough homeless animals that need help. 

Why Should I Foster A Pet?

As a foster parent, you will be able to love, care for, and enjoy knowing different cats and dogs. And you will be doing a wonderful thing – giving these deserving animals a chance at a new life. 

What Are the Costs Associated with Fostering?

For the most part, the shelter you foster for will provide everything your foster pet needs. This may include food, medication, a crate, a bed, and food/water bowls. They will also cover veterinary expenses. The only thing you probably will not be reimbursed for is mileage driving your foster pet to/from vet visits and adoption events as well as any extra toys you may want to give your foster pet. However, you may be eligible for tax deductions. It can also be a good idea to ask neighbors, friends or colleagues if they have any spare supplies you can borrow while you foster to reduce the financial strain on the organization you are fostering for. You’ll also want to be prepared for the expenses of damage from your foster pet. Most of the time the pet you foster will not be accustomed to living in a home, so damage from chewing or potty accidents is to be expected. 

Is My Home Ready for Fostering?

You will need to have available space for an animal and be willing to pet-proof your home — especially if you will be fostering mischievous kittens or puppies. Also, keep in mind that your home and belongings may become damaged while fostering. Fromscratched furniture and overturned plants to chewed-up slippers and housetraining accidents, another animal in the house means more messes. 

Will I Get to Choose the Pet that I Foster?

We will tell you about the animals that need foster homes and you can let us know your preference. If we feel that the animal is a good match for your home, we will set you up as a foster home. We do our best to place an animal that fits your lifestyle. If you live in an apartment, you can ask for or an older animal who is low energy or a cat or dog in medical recovery who needs to be kept quiet. If you are an active family, you can ask for a dog who needs lots of walks and plenty of exercise. If someone in your family is comfortable working with dogs, they can help with some basic obedience or teach him some tricks. 

Will A Foster Pet Have Accidents or Cause Damage?

Foster animals, like any other companion animal in your home, may destroy carpeting, drapes, clothing and other valuable items. Preparing your home and the area the foster animal(s) will stay in can prevent most accidents, but not all of them. The LCHS is not responsible for damages done to your home or property by LCHS foster animals. 

Do I Keep My Foster Pet Separate From My Pets?

Separation from your pets is recommended on a case-by-case basis, based on the pet's needs. Generally, we recommend gradually introducing them to your pets. Kittens we recommend be isolated from your pets for the health and safety of both the foster and your pet, for the first few days. A separate room or enclosed area, ideally with no carpet, often works best (like a bathroom, laundry room, or bedroom with no carpet). 

What if My Foster Pet is not Working Out?

Although we make every effort to ensure a good and safe foster match, there are times when this will fail. In this case, contact your LCHS Foster Coordinator as soon as possible. If the issues are minor, LCHS will work with you to address them. Many times, problems can be solved by trying a few new things and/or by giving the animal time to adjust to your home. For example, we can switch crates, switch foods, or offer simple behavioral solutions to try. Other times, an animal may simply not be a good fit for your home or lifestyle. LCHS will always take the foster animal back if an issue cannot be resolved. However, we ask that you give us at least 24 hours to plan. If that is not possible, we will make emergency arrangements. LCHS never wants to put the safety of the Foster person, their own animals, or the foster pet in jeopardy. 

Can I Name My Foster?

In most cases, yes! Animals that were turned into a shelter, however, may have had their names for years. In that case, we recommend against giving them a new name or suggest you find a name like their existing one. If you have any questions about this, contact your LCHS Foster Coordinator. We do reserve the right to change any names we deemed inappropriate.  

Can Foster Parents Adopt Their Foster Pets?

Yes! If foster parents meet the shelter requirements that are necessary for adopting, foster parents have the first choice to adopt their foster pets, unless otherwise specified. We do not encourage it, simply because it often means that people can no longer foster. Think through the decision carefully so that you are not deciding to keep the animal solely because it is too difficult to let him/her go. The first few foster experiences can be difficult, as you will get attached and may have trouble letting go. But remember, your role as a Foster person is invaluable!  

Is it Difficult to Say Goodbye to Your Foster Pets?

It can be difficult to let go once you have become emotionally attached to a foster pet. Be prepared for tears and some heartache when your animals are ready for adoption. But remember foster care volunteers play a crucial part in helping unwanted animals get to the permanent, loving homes they deserve. The more you foster, the easier it is to let them go, because you know that when your current group finds their homes, you can save even more! 

Clinic FAQ's


Coming Soon. . .

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