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Behind the Scenes

Mission Viejo Animal Services Center is committed to providing the best possible service for the five cities it covers during this difficult time. Dedicated staff will continue to care for the animals, and animal services officers will continue to patrol the communities and respond to stray animals and public safety functions.

Stay tuned to this page to see daily updates on what's going on behind the scenes at the center during our closure. 

May 27, 2020

Snuggles & Downy Adoption Update 

Snuggles and Downy are so sweet and playfully happy kittens! Our children love petting and playing with them. She is still playful and constantly purring. Thank you taking such good care of them that they are so happy and sweet.

Downy & Snuggles

May 26, 2020

Featured Pet Charlotte


May 22, 2020

Pluto adoption update 

Dear Rockstar Employees/Volunteers, 
This is Erica & Dylan, we adopted Pluto (now named Lynyrd Albert W.) on April 24, 2019 from CMVAS. In light of current conditions we felt it was necessary to share some joy, Lynyrd has been the piece of the puzzle our family was missing. The moment we brought him home, he was very receptive to being a little brother to our cat-son, Eugene. They are now the best of buds who love to sunbathe together on our patio. 
With our family living so close to the beach, we were eager to show him how fun it could be. Lynyrd now loves to run up and down the sand, play in the water, and chase his tennis balls. He has a keen desire to feel all textures that he can explore i.e. sand, grass, stone, & snow. He is our little nature investigator; he is always excited for a new adventure. 
Please see attached highlight reel of our first of many years with our cutie loves, our biggest boy of all time, Lynyrd Albert. 
Thank you! 
Dylan, Erica, Eugene, & Lynyrd 

Lynyrd 3
Lynyrd 2

May 21, 2020 

Meet our featured pet Quincy

May 19, 2020

Donated Items Needed

We are in need of new dog toys, new leashes & collars, dog walk bags and new blankets. If you have items to donate, please drop them at the shelter's front gate (9am-4pm, 7 days a week). Questions? Contact us at 470-3045 or animalinfo@cityofmissionviejo.org. Thank you in advance to our generous community!

donated items needed

May 16, 2020

Margarita & Tangelo adopted!

Margarita & Tangelo went to their forever homes today! 



May 15, 2020

A great day for adoptions!

Today was a great day for adoptions at the center! We are so exited to announce that Blythe, Bobby, Gala and Lime went home today! Congrats!



May 14, 2020

Felix Adoption Update

This is Felix. Felix BLESSED our home and he immediately became a part of our family. He came into our life in a time where we needed his love and affection the most. Felix, without knowing it, gave me a sense of purpose and provided all love in the world. His little heart has so much love to give and I'm super grateful that he was able to grace us with his love. He is a "velcro doggie" and constantly needs to be on or near dad, he takes up the bed and with such a small stature manages to leave very little space on the bed. But in spite of all that, I couldn't imagine my life without my new best friend.

Felix 2

May 13, 2020

3 adoptions today! 

Today was a great day for adoptions! Tony, Chica and Blakely went to their forever homes today! Congratulations!!


May 10, 2020

Lake Rancho Santa Margarita Duck Rescue

Animal Services reminding residents to discard or recycle fishing line after duck’s severe injury

The Mission Viejo Animal Services Center is reminding residents to properly dispose of fishing line after a duck was injured last weekend at the Rancho Santa Margarita Lake.

The center was called by people at the lake who spotted the duck with a large visible wound. When animal services officers arrived and eventually rescued the duck, they determined the wound was caused by fishing line wrapped around the bird, making the injury worse each day. 
Fortunately, the duck was treated by the Animal Urgent Care of South Orange County, which donated the services to successfully treat the bird that will soon return to the lake.  Unfortunately, though, many birds, turtles and marine mammals are injured or killed each year from becoming tangled in fishing line, hooks and tackle that have been improperly disposed of along beaches or thrown from boats into the water. 
Here are some things you can do to make sure animals are not harmed by used fishing lines:

  • Always cut fishing line into pieces less than 6 inches long (preferably 1-inch). Dispose of it, along with hooks and tackle, in appropriate covered containers, so it does not blow away or become a risk to wildlife. 
  • Recycle fishing line. Place all broken or used line in a Monofilament Line Recycling Bin. If no recycling bins are available, place broken or used fishing line that has been cut into pieces in a lidded trash can. 
  • Monofilament fishing line is recyclable.
  • Volunteer your time to clean up fishing line debris at local beaches.
  • Use biodegradable fishing line that does not have an indefinite life span in the environment.
  • Always check gear and terminal tackle. Inspect your gear often to avoid unwanted breaks. Even small amounts of gear in the water can be harmful to wildlife in entangled or ingested.
RSM Lake Duck Rescue 3
RSM Lake Duck Rescue 2
RSM Lake Duck Rescue


May 8, 2020

Canada Goose Rescue

Mission Viejo Animal Services received a call for a goose that had been hit by a car near the lake in Mission Viejo on Tuesday. It was rescued by an Animal Services Officer and transported to Wetlands and Wildlife in Huntington Beach for rehabilitation. The Canada Goose received treatment at the center and was re-released on Thursday.  We are happy to partner with such an amazing rehabilitor. It gives us all great joy when we receive the call from Wetlands to let us know that the animal is completely healed and ready to be released. It’s truly a new lease on life for these animals. 

Canada Goose Release 2
Canada Goose Release

May 7, 2020

Meet our featured pet Canasta 

May 6, 2020

At Home Enrichment Program

During this time of social distancing at home work might keep you busy, but what about our furry family members? They may be used to going to daycare, having playdates, or going to dog parks or other high trafficked areas. But during this community action time of social distancing, we simply can’t take that risk.
How do we help our pups avoid cabin fever when they can’t leave the house for weeks at a time? 

We have come up with some great ideas to keep your pets mentally stimulated, especially when you are trying to get some work done. 

Check out our new "At Home Enrichment" section here  

May 5, 2020

The Mission Viejo Animal Services Pet Pantry is grateful to receive another generous donation from Canyon Tack & Feed, in partnership with Purina. 

Our Pet Pantry volunteers distribute it to local food banks for residents in need. 

It takes many helping, caring hands to ensure that our residents can continue to properly care for their pets. 

Pet Pantry
Pet Pantry

May 2, 2020 

Behind the Scenes Bunny Photo Shoot

May 1, 2020 

Hop into Summer Bunny Adoption Special  

Bunny Adoption Special

For more information, tap here

April 30, 2020

Potato Face Adopted!

Potato went home to a sweet couple and their two older kids! They fell in love with his photo right away and it didn’t take them long to decide on adding him to the family. They were looking for a sweet mellow dog as this would be their first dog as a family.  Potato Face is the perfect addition! Congratulations!!

Potato Face Adopted

April 29, 2020

Cloth Mask Donation 

We received 30 cloth masks for our staff, made by Rachel Wendel to help fight the spread of the corona virus.  The masks have dogs and cat print on them, which our staff love! Rachel told us that she has been making them since April 2.  Not only did she donate to us, she stated that she was headed to other local shelters to donate as well.

We are so grateful and touched by Rachel and her team of volunteers for their support and generosity! 

Rachel W
Mask Donation


April 28, 2020

Mama Cat & Kitten Rescue

Officer Stewart was dispatched to a call for a possible injured animal. The caller stated that their dog was pacing back and forth along their backyard fence, and barking. When Officer Stewart arrived, he went behind the property to investigate. He saw a cat run off, and upon further investigation found a litter of very young kittens in a small hole. The mother dug up a hole to keep them safe, while she was away searching for food.  Officer Stewart rescued the kittens, and set a trap for the mother cat.

The kittens were taken to the shelter and immediately placed in a foster home where they could be bottle-fed around the clock, just like mama cat fed them.

Officer Stewart went back later in the day to check the trap, but it was empty. He went back the next day, and was successful. The mother had been painstakingly caught.

The mother cat was taken to the shelter, and the foster family brought her kittens back to the shelter so they could be reunited with their mother.

Mama and kittens are currently being cared for by the shelter staff, and they are thriving!

It’s heartwarming to see how the community came together to save these lives. Had they not been rescued, their chances of survival would not be very high.  The mother cat was named Aquaria, and her kittens all have zodiac sign names. Aquaria and her kittens will be available for adoption in the near future.  

Aquaria & Kittens
Aquaria Kittens 2
Aquaria Kittens

April 25, 2020

MVAS Pet Pantry Purina Donation 

The Mission Viejo Animal Services Pet Pantry has become a vital pet food resource for our community members facing financial hardships during the pandemic. Since the crisis began, we have seen a significant increase in the number of people needing to relinquish their pets because they are no longer able to afford to properly care for them. We knew this was not going to stop anytime soon, so we reached out to local pet supply stores for their help during this uncertain time.    

Canyon Feed & Tack, whom we purchase Timothy hay and other rabbit supplies came through. They worked directly with Purina to secure a donation of pet food. DAWG, our nonprofit group received it at the center.

Our Pet Pantry volunteers distributed it to local food banks, one being San Francisco Solano Church in Rancho Santa Margarita.

It took many helping, caring hands to ensure that our residents can continue to feed their pets. We are very happy we could help out.

Pet Pantry Donation

April 24, 2020

It's Volunteer Appreciation Week!

In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Week we usually host a nice get together with our volunteers. However, under these circumstances the staff decided to record a video thanking the volunteers for all of their hard efforts all throughout the year. This year in particular, our volunteers really stepped it up by quickly helping us foster animals that were in our care during our temporary closure. Our dedicated professional staff is assisted by approximately 150 volunteers in providing help socializing and grooming animals, cleaning kennels, walking & exercising dogs, fostering animals, and showing adoptable pets to the visiting public.

We believe it is vital to show our appreciation to our volunteers who tirelessly dedicate their time and energy every day, including Holidays to the welfare of the homeless animals in our community. In addition to the thank you video, we held a Zoom meeting to again thank all of them, and give them an update on various topics regarding the shelter. It was great to see all of their faces, and all agree that we cannot wait to get back to “business as usual”.

Thank you Mission Viejo Animal Services Volunteers, you are truly the best!!

Zoom Meeting

April 23, 2020

The Animal Services Center is staying Mission Viejo Strong

April 22, 2020

Our resident felines enjoying some enrichment time

April 21, 2020

Lucky Adoption Update

Thank you for your hard work, especially now during these crazy times. As an animal lover I truly appreciate the amount of time and effort you put into keeping our animals safe and finding them homes!

We were lucky enough to have adopted a young pup from Mission Viejo shelter just prior to all of this sheltering in place began.

He very quickly became a most important part of our lives and family. He's been working hard at training us, so that he's comfortable in his new home. 

Maybe you remember him? a Jack Russell mix named Lucky!

We just love him to pieces. I'll attach some photos of him below!

Stay safe,

Diane, Dan (and Lucky) W. 

Lucky 2

April 18, 2020

Penne adopted! 

As you may recall, earlier this month we assisted The Orange County Animal Care Center as they were are at capacity for their dog population. They received three tiny Chihuahuas from a family who had lost their jobs and could no longer care for them, one of their rescue coordinators reached out to the center supervisor asking if there would be any way for us to help these dogs. The three Chihuahua’s named Penne, Gnocchi, and Rigatoni, were transferred to our center. Animal Services Officer Stewart fell head over heels when he met tiny Penne. He offered to foster her during her hold period. Penne quickly won over the hearts of his entire family, including the four legged members. They decided to officially make her part of the family by adopting her this past weekend. Penne aka Penny is as happy as can be with her new family!

Penne 2


April 17, 2020

Luis Miguel aka Denny Adoption Update 

In early March we welcomed 8 new dogs from the over crowded Riverside shelter through our  “A Mission for Home” rescue program. Funded exclusively through our nonprofit DAWG, this program is a win-win for the animals and shelters alike. It helps other shelters reduce their numbers; the animals get a chance to find great homes; and local families have more animals to choose from when they’re ready to adopt a furry family member.   

One dog in particular stole the hearts of our staff as he was in desperate need for a makeover. The small Lhasa Apso/Poodle mix named “Luis Miguel” was covered in mats. Without treatment, these mats can be painful because they pull on the underlying skin, and can lead to sores and skin infections. Within hours he was shaved, bathed and given a brand new do! He was literally a new dog, and adopted short after his makeover. 

Luis Miguel 3
Luis Miguel 2
Luis Miguel

Below is a heart warming update from his new family 

Denny (aka Luis Miguel) doing great with new brother and sister. Brady and Denny love each other and sleep together always. Denny's unique personality traits and spunk are peeking out more every day. He can be quite assertive for attention when he wants to be, but as sweet as ever.  He goes on long walks with his brother, gets lots of kisses and hugs, loves his food and sleeping on warm soft beds, and playing fetch.  This has been a match made in heaven for sure.  We love him so much!  Thank you to all the volunteers and staff for all you do for precious furballs like Denny (Luis)!

Luis Miguel_3
Luis Miguel_2
Luis Miguel

April 16, 2020

Potato Face Foster Update

I only agreed to foster Potato Face because I knew I would be a successful foster mom....in the kennel he was very aloof and not cuddly. Well, a couple of days at Camp Sheri and he is a totally different dog and Brynn is betting I'm going to be a foster failure! He loves all dogs, cats, kids - loves to go for walks and is totally house broken. Not one accident since last Thursday! I have taught him to take the doggy stairs to couch and bed. Fits in nicely - darn it!

Potato Face
Potato Face

April 15, 2020 

Thank you MVAS Animal Services Officers & Animal Care Technicians!

In honor of “National Animal Care & Control Officer Appreciation Week” April 12-18, we would like to give a shout out to our dedicated officers and animal care staff of the Mission Viejo Animal Services Center. 

This year’s National Animal Care and Control Appreciation Week is an especially important one, as animal control officers and shelter staff everywhere continue to work on the front lines to navigate the unexpected challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Animal services officers are first responders, not only do these hardworking people tirelessly protect the welfare of helpless animals that endure injury, disease, abuse, or starvation, but they also protect the people in their communities by enforcing animal control laws, preventing the spread of disease, and educating the public on proper pet care.

Our animal care staff provides the very best care to our resident homeless animals. They are doing an outstanding job under the current circumstances, and continue to coordinate dog meets and process adoptions all while following all safety recommendations.  

The City appreciates your service to the community and animals!


April 14, 2020

Our pups enjoying the beautiful spring weather!

April 11, 2020 

Kova & Ida Foster Update

The baby bunnies are doing great! They are both girls, 9 weeks old now.They love each other very much, it would be great if they can get adopted together They love to be pet and kissed.They enjoy playing and exploring :) 

We miss you guys terribly and of course the bunnies :( Can not wait to come back! 

Kova & Ida 2
Kova & Ida

April 10, 2020

Did you know Mission Viejo Animal Services officers are first responders?

If you or your kids are looking for something fun to do while staying at home, consider sending a written letter or hand-drawn photo to animal services officers working in the trenches. 

Animal caregivers and animal control officers are essential personnel who are reporting to work seven days a week to care for the pets in our shelter as well as work in the field to help people and animals. Sometimes, they’re called on by Mission Viejo Police Services to assist them with various situations. 

“We are asking today if you would be willing to have your kids (or you, of course) write our animal services officers a letter or draw them a picture showing your care and support,” said Volunteer Coordinator Giselle Leal-Pelayo “We think this would bring smiles to their faces.”

You can email letters or photos to animalinfo@cityofmissionviejo.org; mail them to 28095 Hillcrest or tag us with your photos via social media (@MissionViejoLife).

ASO in truck

April 9, 2020

Brittle goes home!!

Brittle was dumped at Florence Joyner Olympiad Park in Mission Viejo along with a group of other bunnies.  Officers attempted to catch the bunnies but had no luck, so they set traps and checked them regularly.  They were able to catch a handful and staff named them after See’s Candies chocolates in anticipation of a Bunny Adoption Event around Valentine’s day. Brittle was the cleanest, and most docile bunny of the group.  He was slow to warm up to new people but learned to trust people quickly.  He loved to eat grapes! A family of 5 in Mission Viejo emailed in that they had been looking for a bunny for a while and saw Brittle on our website.  They have owned other exotic pets in the past like chickens and their neighbors who own bunnies inspired them to get one of their own. Congratulations!!


April 8, 2020

Our shelter enrichment programs help reduce the stress and boredom of kennel life. Watch this short video of some dogs enjoying Kongs. 

April 7, 2020

The Orange County Animal Care Center reached out to us for assistance. It seems they are at capacity for their dog population, and in these unique times, their adoption rate is slower than usual. When they received three tiny Chihuahuas from a family who had lost their jobs and could no longer care for them, they started looking for assistance. Knowing that we have helped them in the past, one of their rescue coordinators reached out to the center asking if there would be any way for us to help these dogs. In these difficult times, we are doing everything in our power to give a lending hand to our fellow agencies as well as the public. The three Chihuahua’s named Penne, Gnocchi, and Rigatoni, are now in our care and will be available for adoption soon! 



April 6, 2020


Baby Duckling Rescue 

April 4, 2020

A lot of great adoptions today!

Dante, Curly, Sasha and Creed were all adopted today!  


April 3, 2020

Funny Girl adopted!

Funny Girl was adopted today and her sister Sasha has a meet tomorrow. Creed aka Rocky was brought back from foster today and was approved for adoption to his new family. He will be going home tomorrow.  Dante & Curly will be meeting their potential adopters tomorrow as well. Dog Neena, was reunited with her family. 

Funny Girl

We had hummingbird stuck in the front lobby area, but quickly made its way out.  

April 2, 2020

Pollywog Foster Update

First day update:

Polywog, or Polly as I call her is adjusting well and is very happy and affectionate with people!  She is eating well and drinking water along with my other dogs. She has learned that each dog has their own space, but did so very well. I walked all four dogs around the block with no issues. She slept in her bed all night and is full of energy and loves to play fetch/retrieve.  

I learned that she can get easily overexcited - so funny...when she first got here, she did several laps around the entire downstairs room-to-room. We just laughed.  Our other dogs watched her probably thinking she is crazy!  But she settled down and then took a long nap! She sits in her bed next to where I work.  Very calm. 

Most recent update:

The chihuahuas are very mellow.  One in particular that used to be more aggressive, is now calm and occasionally plays with her.  So, making a lot of progress for all.  Polly,  is learning boundaries.  She is doing well with potty, sleeps all night, and loves to play. She rarely tires but at night is sound asleep.  No potty mistakes in the last week.  She can sit, come, stay.  I will be leash training her. She reacts to very loud noises outside (cars, motorcycles, trucks) so I want to nip this in the bud for her safety.  She tries to jump forward after the vehicle.  I never take her off leash. Even in the home when not playing, she stays in a bed next to me. I let her play outside in the backyard...there's a lot of birds, bunnies, squirrels that she loves to chase.
Her current obsession is looking into the glass window or fireplace cover & tries to growl and bark at the dog in the reflection!!! It's pretty funny.  She also has a very keen sense of hearing. Can hear a truck coming down street before it gets to our home
Our UPS driver now leaves 1 milkbone on the package for each dog.  So, when Polly hears the truck she causes all four dogs to bark in anticipation!  Gets pretty loud here!

*Polly's foster family have completely fallen in love with her, and have decided to adopt her.  Congratulations Polly!

Polly's new mom
Polly in bed
Polly toy
Dogs resting
Polly Eating



April 1, 2020

Don't worry, be HOPPY!

A short video of our bunnies enjoying the beautiful weather outside. 

March 30, 2020

Boxer puppies go home! 

In late January, we received a call from one of our rescue partners asking for assistance. They had just received a pregnant purebred boxer from a homeless encampment near the border of Mexico. This beautiful white boxer was about to give birth at at any moment. With the assistance of DAWG, the center welcomed the dog with open arms. One of our amazing foster mom’s took her in and within two days she went into labor without success. Melody, the mother dog was so anemic and weak that she could not deliver on her own. After an emergency C-section, six beautiful boxer mix puppies were born. Unfortunately Melody was so sick she could not nurse the puppies. Our foster stepped in and bottle-fed all six. After Mom Melody recovered she was adopted out to a lovely family. All six boxer pups were successfully raised by our foster which is a miracle in and of itself. All puppies were adopted over the weekend into their forever homes. 


March 28, 2020

Caring for the current residents at the center

March 27, 2020 

Foster Update

The Mission Viejo Animal Services Center volunteers have stepped up and helped with many of the animals that are residents at the shelter during the COVID-19 closure. 10 dogs were placed into foster last week, one of which has found a home with a family friend of the foster, and at least 2 more are going to be adopted by their foster families. The others will stay in foster for as long as the shelter stays closed. These pets are enjoying a lot of attention, and having a great time with families staying home. 

Here is an update about Kona, who is being fostered by the Cody Family:

Kona is a 7 year old Boxer mix. He might just be the best trained dog I have ever met, and I have met a lot of dogs in my day. He will sit, wait, come, walk well on a leash, go to his bed, and even waits to hear you say OK before he eats. Somebody put a bunch of time into training this sweet dog. He's also, even at 7, a goofball. He loves to look down at the park below our home and just watch people and other dogs. He acts like it is his job to save us from potential invaders. He will chase anything in our yard that moves; bunnies, birds, lizards, bugs, anything and sometimes nothing. Yesterday, he held the BBQ hostage with his nose under it, making circles around it and barking a few times. We told him to go into the house, thinking it might be a defenseless bunny. Nope! It was part of a bird's nest, vacated long ago. Kona is doing a great job keeping us busy and snuggling with us. And No, we aren't planning to adopt, but he can stay as long as he needs to.



March 26, 2020

Playtime at Animal Services Center

March 25, 2020

Animal Services Center essential services



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