Our Shelter

WAGS is an “open-admission” animal adoption and care center. What does this mean?

The Adoption center shelters and cares for companion animals, investigates and combats animal cruelty, rescues neglected pets, treats sick and injured strays only from the City of Westminster, and educates the community about humane issues and responsible pet care.

    • Every companion animal in need of shelter and care from the City of Westminster is welcome here whether or not we believe the animal is “adoptable.”
    • Our compassionate protocols guide us to administer the highest standards of ethics, leadership, care and rehabilitation to save the life of every pet. Decisions about the welfare of each pet are made by doctors and staff based on an objective criteria that constantly must select the most humane outcome for the pet.


We work tirelessly such that every adoptable animal that comes to us is adopted out to a caring, responsible forever-home.

      • The decisions regarding which animals are placed in our adoption program, or cared for in the foster care program depends upon the age, health and temperament of the animals as well as our ability to provide them care that would make them good adoption candidates.
      • We profoundly reject the notion that there are not enough adoption homes in our community. We see this as an opportunity to demonstrate our leadership and experience. With the explosion of pet ownership in America, we have sought to implement new and innovative programs that look inside and outside our community for adoption and rehabilitation solutions. For example, we are partnering and sharing data with shelters around the country to extend our adoption range beyond the limitations of our local community. We will literally fly-em anywhere!
      • As defined by the Asilomar Accords, and used by WAGS, animals are grouped into three categories:
      • Healthy

The term “healthy” means and includes all dogs and cats eight weeks of age or older that, at the time the animal is taken into possession, have manifested no sign of a behavioral characteristic that could pose a health or safety risk or otherwise make the animal unsuitable for placement as a pet and have shown no sign of a medical condition that would adversely affect their heath. These animals are good candidates for adoption.

      • Treatable

The term “treatable” means and includes all dogs and cats that are “rehabilitatable” and all dogs and cats that are “manageable.”

Rehabilitatable: The term “rehabilitatable” means and includes all dogs and cats that are not “healthy,” but are likely to become “healthy,” if given medical, foster, behavioral or other care. With this care, these animals may be candidates for adoption.

Manageable: The term “manageable” means and includes all dogs and cats that are not “healthy” and are not likely to become “healthy,” regardless of the care provided; but would likely maintain a satisfactory quality of life, if given medical, foster, behavioral, or other care, including long-term care. With such care, these animals may be candidates for adoption.

      • Unhealthy and Untreatable

The term “unhealthy and untreatable” means and includes all dogs and cats that have behavioral or temperamental characteristics that pose a health risk to other shelter animals, pose safety risk, or represent such other risk that make the animal unsuitable for placement as a pet, and are not likely to become “healthy” or “treatable” or:

1) are suffering from a medical condition that adversely affects the animal’s health or is likely to adversely affect the animal’s health in the future; or
2) are under the age of eight weeks and are not likely to become “healthy” or “treatable,” even if provided foster care.

In general, these animals are not candidates for adoption.

Why doesn’t WAGS keep all the animals until they get homes?

      • We consider quality of life paramount. We do not believe indefinite cage confinement or indiscriminate placement is in the best interest of our companion animal friends.
      • We work hard to avoid euthanasia, and our work pays off with a high adoption rate.

When will WAGS be able to stop euthanizing animals?

      • We believe that by working with coalition partners in our community and throughout the country we can dramatically reduce and, eliminate the euthanasia of healthy and treatable/rehabilitatable animals. Our current strategic plan calls for us to exceed 90% percent placement of healthy and treatable dogs and cats (“live outcome rate”) by the end of 2011. For the unhealthy and untreatable animals, euthanasia is the most humane option. Some of these animals are suffering, and others pose a danger to other animals or people.

What is WAGS doing to exceed 90% percent placement of healthy and treatable/rehabilitatable (“live outcome rate”) dogs and cats? We are:

  • Aggressively promoting spaying and neutering programs.
  • Encouraging life-long, responsible pet ownership through expanded community awareness and humane education programs and working with partners in of the City of Westminster (Orange and Los Angeles Counties) to promote responsible pet ownership.
  • Work with local and national partners to share data and expand the range of adoption options and foster opportunities.
  • Working with the media, specific breed groups and other organizations to increase community awareness and the number of pet placements.
  • In our strategic vision, we plan to support pet owners through our obedience classes and behavior-rehabilitation program.
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