What is the difference between Open Admission and Limited Admission

An "Open Admission" facility will turn no animal away and with that open door policy comes certain realities and responsibilities. That is the defining difference between an "Open Admission" shelter and "Limited Admission" shelters.

"Limited Admission" shelters or groups restrict both the type and the number of animals it will receive. When the shelter cages or foster homes are filled, they will turn away the next animal regardless of the circumstances. That leaves the individual with a stray or unwanted animal to find another source for relinquishing the animal, usually an "Open Admission" shelter.

We can think of animal welfare like a patchwork quilt, made of different organizations; some "Open Admission", some "Limited Admission" and others such as specific breed "Rescue Groups", "Sanctuaries" and even "Animal Control" who all want to get homeless and unwanted animals off the street and into a better place.

Although the simplicity of the "Limited Admission" shelter philosophy is appealing, reality is not that simple. Long Beach Animal Care Services takes in over 20, 000 animals each year. We try to return lost and stray animals to their homes but these animals do not have proper identification nor do their owners contact us regarding their lost companion. More keep coming every day, and only so many can be housed at a time.