Adoption Process

Your Pet Adoption Options

First Things First

Bringing a new cat or dog into your family is a big decision — and we’re honored you’re interested in adopting from HSHC! Everything you need to know about our adoption process is outlined below.

  • 01.

    Meet Your Match

    Once you’ve fallen head over heels for the new love of your life, the next step is making sure you and your family (including any existing pets) are a perfect match!

    That’s why we require the entire family be a part of the adoption process—especially any children in the home.

    And if it’s a dog that has stolen your heart, we do require a “meet & greet” with any other dogs in the home to ensure compatibility.

  • 02.

    Application & Fee

    Fill out an application and pay the adoption fee – which ranges from $25-$350, depending on the pet. We offer discounts on adoption fees depending on how long the animal has been at the shelter, and we always run a monthly adoption special.

  • 03.

    Taking Your Pet Home

    You may take your new pet home the same day your application is fully approved by an Adoption Counselor (and all other required family and/or pet meet & greets have been successfully completed) as long as your pet has already been spayed or neutered.

    If your new love has not yet been spayed or neutered, you may pick him up the day his surgery is complete. (A list of participating veterinarians will be provided for your convenience.)

  • 04.

    Need some extra time?

    If your family needs a little extra time to prepare for your pet’s homecoming or you need to coordinate a family/pet “meet & greet,” you may place a 24-hour, non-refundable hold on your pet.

Making Sure Every Match Is Perfect

Why should I adopt from HSHC?

The benefits of adopting a pet from HSHC are immeasurable. The most tangible adoption benefits, however, include:

  • If your pet hasn’t already been spayed or neutered, your adoption fee includes it! Your pet will be spayed/neutered before they go home and may be picked up from the participating vet clinic of your choice.*
  • All animals receive a complimentary wellness exam and a certificate for a free Rabies vaccine (redeemable with any participating veterinarian**).
  • Each animal receives 30 days of FREE Pet Insurance through the ShelterCare Program.
  • All animals will have received – at a minimum – their first round of vaccinations, a complete deworming, and heartworm/flea/tick preventative.
  • All dogs meeting the age requirement have been heartworm tested.
  • All cats are Feline Leukemia/FIV tested.
  • Each pet is microchipped and registered to the adopter for free.
  • Our dogs are temperament tested so we can place them in the best possible homes.
  • We will “cat test” a dog you’re interested in adopting at no additional fee.
  • All adopters receive a complimentary bag of Science Diet food and special offers from corporate sponsors good for discounts on boarding, training, grooming, pet supplies, and invisible fencing.

*Please note that additional treatments, medications, or procedures your local vet may recommend are NOT included with our adoption fees and are the sole responsibility of the adopter. This includes – but is not limited to – pre-surgical bloodwork prior to spay/neuter surgery, post operative pain medication after spay/neuter surgery, antibiotics, booster shots, additional wormings, fecal examinations, dental work, and declawing.

**Adopters must choose from our list of participating veterinarians to redeem the services included with your adoption fee. A list of those veterinarians will be provided at the point of adoption.

How old do I have to be to adopt a pet?

The minimum age for adoption is 18, and for certain breeds – including Pit Bulls and Pit Bulls mixes, Rottweilers, Akitas, German Shepherds, Shar Peis, Dobermans, Bull Mastiffs, Huskies, and Chow Chows – you must be 21.

Do I have to be a homeowner to adopt?

We must be able to either verify home ownership or have approval from your landlord. Regardless of age, if you live with a parent, he or she must be present at the time of adoption.

What identification will I need if I want to adopt?

We require you to have a personal phone number and a copy of your driver’s license or state ID.

What if I already have a pet at home?

If you currently have a dog, we require they be introduced to your new addition. The shelter has a play yard to assist with new introductions.

If you currently have a cat, and you would like to adopt a dog, we will conduct a complimentary “cat test” with your prospective pet to ensure feline-canine compatibility!

If I have young kids, is pet adoption right for us?

We require that children under 16 be introduced to new pets before the adoption is finalized. (We may require that ALL family members, regardless of age, meet a dog with special needs.This requirement may be waived for some cat adoptions.)

May I give a pet as a gift?

Because choosing a pet is a very personal – and lifelong – decision, we do not allow pets to be adopted as gifts. The exception to this rule is adopting a pet for your dependent children. Gift certificates are available at our front desk.

Do my current pets have to be spayed/neutered before I adopt?

Approximately 3 million animals are euthanized in U.S. shelters every year. In an effort to do our part to reduce that number, we require that other animals within an adopter’s home be spayed or neutered. 

Please note there is a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance for Hamilton County residents. For more information on this and other Hamilton County Animal Ordinances visit this page.

To learn more about the health and behavior improvement benefits of spaying/neutering your pet and low-cost vet resources visit this page.

Some exceptions may be made under the following circumstances:

    • You provide documentation from your vet explaining why spaying/neutering is not in your pet’s best health interest.
    • Your pet is under six months old.
    • You can provide proof of a Hamilton County Breeder’s Permit.
    • You have documentation your animal is a “show” animal.

Adoption Success Story: Pinky-Pie

Read the Story

We got Pinky-Pie (formerly Salty) 1 1/2 years ago during a difficult time in our lives. He has been the best medicine for our whole family and is our daughter’s best friend! I can’t say enough about how amazing the staff were in finding the perfect match for us. This little fur ball has been a blessing!

  • Thanks again for an awesome adoption process. We are blessed with a fantastic dog!

    Brittany Mallory‎

  • I was so impressed with Hamilton County Humane’s professionalism and organization.

    George's New Owners

  • Lindsay’s only requirements were an older shelter cat who’d been waiting far too long for a home. Our staff knew the perfect cat for her.

    Congrats Lindsay and Ember!

Love & Let Live

Every animal deserves a second chance at love — and life. We invite you to be part of the solution and give back to the animals who give us so much.