Animal Rights

Florida is one of many states with anti-cruelty laws in place to protect animals. These laws require that the animals must be given the basic necessities. However, As long as the owners comply with these laws, they can go unpunished for other actions that may not be nice to the animal. For example, cosmetic tail docking and ear cropping. 

Even with these laws in place, animals are not able to advocate for themselves if they are harmed. When owned by humans, they have little to no rights. When in the wild though, these animals would not be considered owned by anyone since nature does not have a right or legal protection.

Adoption and Fostering Programs

Pet adoption is a fantastic way to welcome a new furry friend into the family. Adoption prevents additional demand on unethical and exploitative aspects of the pet industry, especially puppy and kitten mills. OCAS allows future pet owners to adopt cats and dogs directly from the county’s own shelters.

Wildlife Protection and Rehabilitation

Animal Services is pleased to offer a foster care program that places pets in temporary homes until they are ready for adoption, saving thousands of lives every year. The foster program is for pets that are sick, injured, in need of socialization skills and/or are too young for adoption. The program is available for select pets at Animal Services.

Volunteer Opportunities

Orange County Animal Services is always welcoming new team members to its booming volunteer program! The program is best suited to individuals who enjoy interacting with both people and pets.

Orange County Animal Services

Orange County Animal Services offers a range of programs and services to care for our county’s pets and animals. “OCAS serves as the county’s only open admission pet shelter, which means no animal in need is ever turned away. As a result, the shelter is nearing capacity with resources stretched thin. Animal Services is calling on the community for help, asking for interested adopters and foster parents to step forward immediately to care for the animals.”

Are you passionate about animal welfare? Orange County Animal Services has ample opportunities open to volunteers!


  • Orange County Animal Services encourages pet owners to spay (for female pets) or neuter (for male pets) their animals. This is done to prevent unwanted litters of puppies and kittens from being born and adding to the pet overpopulation problem in Orange County. 
  • Orange County Animal Services offers a voucher program to help low-income Orange County residents with free spay and neuter for their pets.
  • The program is initially funded by a grant from Florida Animal Friend in the amount of $20,000. Once these grant funds are exhausted, the shelter turns to donations in order to continue the program and keep operating.
  • Applications can be found here.

Some Incredible Rescue Partners Include:

Rescue Me Orlando:

Rescue Me Orlando is a nonprofit organization that helps to network dogs located at a variety of Florida animal shelters. 

Pittie Party of Central Florida:

The Pittie Party of Central Florida is a foster based pit bull rescue. Most of their rescues are euthanasia cases in Central Florida county shelters. Adoption of these pit bulls is free to approved candidates. However, the rescue is 100% funded by community donations, so Pittie Party does ask adopters to make a donation of their choice to the rescue.

Support for Florida’s Wildlife

Partners that Provide Wildlife Rehabilitation + Advocacy

Back to Nature:

Back to Nature is a non-profit organization that looks to rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured or orphaned Florida native wildlife. They are a leading wildlife refuge looking to educate the public on Florida’s beautiful native wildlife.

Bear Warriors United

Bear Warriors United is a nonprofit organization that is located in Oviedo, Florida. The organization’s mission is to end the hunting of bears, establish bear shelters and sanctuaries, and support bear protection legislation.

SeaWorld Rehabilitation Center:

Part of the proceeds from the ticket sales to Seaworld includes funding support for their wildlife rehabilitation center and rescue program. Watch a Tour Now!

Protections For Some Iconic Species Include:

Wildfire Protections for Various Species:

  • Vehicular collisions are a leading cause of death for many animals in Florida. Some animals are already facing extreme vulnerability including: the endangered Florida panther, and Florida’s black bear population. 
  • Roads are an essential part of infrastructure in Florida. However, when they cross through nature, this poses a serious threat to the native wildlife. The impact on these animals has been deadly. 
  • In Florida, vehicle collisions have accounted for 90% of known bear deaths. More than 85% of Florida panthers deaths could also be attributed to vehicular collisions in 2020. 
  • The Florida panther and black bear population have been experiencing extinction for many years now. If these vehicular collisions continue at the rate they are going, this can have a significant impact on Florida’s native wildlife.

MANATEE Protection Initiatives:

  • The Florida manatee is a native species to Florida and can be found in many of the waterways. The Florida manatee population is less than 8,000 and is classified as a threatened species. 
  • These manatees are extremely important to Florida’s wildlife, being able to alert researchers to any environmental changes occuring in Florida waterways that may be unseen.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation has been investigating a high level of moralities among manatees along the Atlantic coast of Florida. These manatee moralities have been declared an unusual mortality event. 
  • In just 2021, there was a record of 1,101 reported manatee deaths, just in Florida. This is nearly double the five year average. 
  • Conditions in the Indian River Lagoon have continued to remain an issue of concern. Researchers have attributed this large mortality event due to the lack of seagrass in the lagoon, leading to manatees starving. Poor water quality has also led to large algae blooms, making it increasingly harder for manatees to feed

BEARS Protections and Safe Trash Cans:

  • Since the 1980s, the Florida Black Bear population has been growing steadily along with Florida’s human population.  However, the constant stream of development occurring in the state is moving people in prime bear locations and taking away these bear habitats. 
  • These black bears are the only type of bear found in Florida and the FWC estimates that there are under 4,000 bears in the state.
  • A large contributor to these black bears dying is vehicular collisions. In an average year, there can be over 200 black bears killed because of these collisions.