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Frequently Asked Questions

Since 1992, Valley Animal Center has worked tirelessly to help combat the pet overpopulation crisis in the Central Valley.  We do this through rescue efforts, the dog and cat adoption centers where we care for them until they have a forever homes, humane education services and our clinic that provides a vast amount of services to care for your furry family members.  Here are a few questions and answers to help you navigate the services we provide at Valley Animal Center.

To be a “no-kill” shelter means that the shelter does not euthanize or “put animals to sleep” for lack of space. Due to this factor, Valley Animal Center (and other no-kill shelters) can only accept animals based on the current available space in the shelter.

How are you different from the SPCA or local animal control?

The SPCA (or a local animal control facility) is an “open-admission” shelter, meaning they are required to accept all lost, stray and abandoned animals from the public, regardless of medical condition or adoptability. As a result, the SPCA must euthanize animals that have been awaiting adoption in order to make space for additional incoming animals.

In order to lower their rate of euthanasia, local animal control facilities partner with local no-kill shelters and rescues to assist in taking many healthy and adoptable animals from their facility that have simply run out of time to be adopted.

Here in the Central Valley, local city and county animal shelters accept an average of an amazing 95,000 animals per year!

This strikingly high number is the result of several root-factors including pet-overpopulation, economic issues, and lack of education. With such a high number of animals needing placement, the city and county need animal control services to manage the over-abundance of lost, stray and abandoned animals.

The solution to ensuring a better future for homeless animals lies in successful partnerships between animal control and no-kill shelters/rescues, as well as the availability of innovative, low-cost spaying and neutering programs.

On a daily basis Valley Animal Center cares for more than 500 dogs, cats, puppies and kittens. We prioritize with taking in animals from animal control in hopes to lower the rate of euthanasia currently facing our region.

Approximately 85% of our adoptable animals arrive here from local animal control facilities where they have run out of time to be adopted.  We maintain this innovative partnership with animal control as part of our mission to help lower the rate of euthanasia in our community.

As a general rule, no-kill shelters and rescues are not legally able to accept lost, stray or abandoned animals from the public.

The majority of our animals come to us from animal control services where they have run out of time to be adopted. These organizations are responsible for stray animal pick-ups, cruelty cases, and enforcing licensing laws. Your local animal control agency is the only entity that is contracted to offer animal control services to your city or county area.

If you are not able to relinquish this stray to animal control, you do have the option, as a private party, to re-home the animal on your own via Craigslist, The Fresno Bee, or by contacting neighbors, friends, or family. Please keep in mind that surrendering a stray animal over to animal control means you are giving them the best chance to be reunited with their family.

Mother cats often leave their litters unattended for many hours at a time. They may be out looking for food or in the process of finding/relocating to a new location for her litter.

It is best to leave the kittens unattended and allow the mother to return to her litter. If you notice the kittens have been left to the elements, try to shade or shelter them with a portable item such as a cardboard box. Never move, touch, or disturb the kittens.

Many mothers return to their litters overnight during our sleeping hours. However if you are certain that the kittens have been left unattended for more than a 24 hour period you may want to contact your local animal control agency about the next steps for relinquishment.

If you wish to keep the litter and foster/bottle feed them, Valley Animal Center staff is available with plenty of helpful advice. Contact our Cat Adoption Center at (559) 233-8554.

In an effort to lower the rate of euthanasia here in our region, we first and foremost take in animals from animal control that have run out of time to be adopted.

Depending on the available space in our shelter, which fluctuates on a daily basis, we are able to open spots for people to surrender their pets to us. Each animal needing to be relinquished to our shelter will need to go under a health and behavior assessment performed by our Shelter Manager. The assessments are by appointment only, and help determine your required owner surrendering fee. Each surrendering fee is based on the age, condition, and adoptability of each animal, as determined by our Shelter Manager during the assessment.

To check on available space and set up a behavior and health assessment appointment please contact our Adoption Center staff:

Cat Adoption Center: (559) 233-8554
Dog Adoption Center: (559) 233-8717

Our staff is happy to assist you with any information or resources that will help you keep your pet. We have plenty of knowledge to share regarding:

  • Proper animal socialization
  • Behavior and training
  • Litter box issues
  • Pet allergies
  • Kids and pets
  • What to do if you are expecting a baby
  • Pet friendly apartments that accept pets of all shapes and sizes
  • Basic, low-cost veterinary services

Our ultimate goal is to ensure the best future for you as well as your pet. We want to ensure we are able to offer advice that helps you keep your promise to your pet in giving them a happy, healthy, life-long home.

If our shelter is currently at capacity and you are unable to work on a solution for your situation, Valley Animal Center also has a list of additional shelters/rescues that may be able to assist you.

As a non-profit, no-kill shelter, we receive no government support to take in pets from the general public. Therefore, we require an owner surrendering fee to cover the costs of caring for your pet while it awaits a new forever home at our shelter.

This surrendering fee is based on several factors in health, behavior, and adoptability. A full grown pet that may have behavioral issues, has yet to be spayed and neutered, or may require additional medical care is something we must take into account when we look at adoptability.

Being a no-kill shelter, we never euthanize for space. Therefore every animal resides here for as long as it may take for them to find their forever home. For some animals that can mean 3 years or more. As a non-profit, we must offset the costs of the state-of-the-art medical care and resources required to care for your pet for as long as necessary.

As with any owner-surrendered animal we must have the available space to take in each pet. We also require a surrendering fee, per pet, that is determined by a behavior and health assessment performed by our Shelter Manager.

For this reason, many people opt to take advantage of our low-cost spaying and neutering services for the mother and her offspring. By spaying and neutering your pets, you are doing your part to prevent future unwanted litters, and making it easier to re-home the puppies or kittens to new families.


Your generous support makes a vital difference for the future of animals currently in our care, waiting for their forever homes. Without support from our community, it would not be possible for the Valley Animal Center to care for more than 500 cats, dogs, puppies and kittens on a daily basis. Valley Animal Center would also be unable to offer the low-cost programs and services we provide for the community and its animals.

Your donations also make it it possible to save the lives of hundreds of animals each year that may have otherwise been euthanized by animal control, simply because they have run out of time to be adopted.

As you know, our non-profit, no-kill shelter receives no government support to take in animals from the public. Therefore, we must determine available space and owner surrendering fee if you wish to relinquish your pet to our facility. This ensures the same state-of-the-art care is made available to your pet, as is for the other animals currently awaiting their forever homes in our shelter.

Our open available space, first and foremost goes to animals that are facing euthanasia through animal control. We prioritize with these animals in an effort to lower the rate of euthanasia in our community.

Due to the overabundance of animals facing euthanasia, it is very rare that we have available space to accept pets directly. However, on a given day, if we have enough adoptions, we may be able to accept animals. We encourage you to check with our shelter frequently for an update on the status of our available space.

As always, Valley Animal Center encourages pet owners throughout the community to spay and neuter their animals, lowering the number of stray and unwanted animals left in our neighborhoods and shelters.

All of our animals residing at the shelter live in communal environments. Therefore we are not able to accept aggressive or territorial animals from the public. Not only would this be a safety issue for our staff and animal residents, but it would also be a very stressful situation for any pet that has not been properly socialized and dislikes being around other animals or sharing their personal space.

Please remember the best way to alleviate aggressive and territorial behavior is to have your pet spayed and neutered and to provide plenty of training, exercise, and socialization opportunities.

Our mission at the Valley Animal Center is to help lower the rate of euthanasia in our region. Therefore, we prioritize with taking animals from animal control that may be facing euthanasia.

Because of this, the available space in our shelter for people’s pets is very minute and fluctuates on a daily basis.
As such, we maintain no waiting list for individuals seeking to relinquish their pets.

Our low-cost spay, neuter, and vaccination services are available to all members of the community, regardless of income. Valley Animal Center wishes to make these services available to the public without the hassle of an application or proof of income process.

We are available to offer your pet spaying/neutering, vaccines, de-worming, flea treatment, nail trimming, and microchipping all at low-cost. Please click here to see our “Clinic Services” page for a list of our prices or click here for more information about our clinic’s history.

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Sponsor A Pet

Through the program Sponsor A Pet, your monthly donation will provide food and medical care for one of our shelter dogs or cats until they can find their forever home.