Meet Your Match

Adoption FAQ's

Meet Your Match

New animals become available every day, so please check our website frequently. Our adoptable dog and cat pages provide the most up-to-date and current information. If an animal can no longer be found on these pages, he or she is no longer available for adoption. Once you find an animal you’d like to meet, the next steps are to complete an application online or at the shelter. When you visit us, let us know who caught your eye.

Each animal has a story. We hope you’ll review our adoptable animal pages and come visit us soon. Walk through our kennels and catteries with an open heart and open mind. Sometimes the one you think you want isn’t the one you really need.  But don’t worry … because they’ll reach out and rescue you.

Before you come in to adopt, please be sure to bring a government issued ID with current address, animal vaccine records, and a copy of your residence’s pet policy!

Meet our adoptable dogs. Meet our adoptable cats.

Adoption FAQ's

What are your dog adoption fees?

Dog Adoption fees include:

  • Heartworm Test (age appropriate)
  • At least one round of age appropriate vaccinations
  • At least one round of flea/tick preventative
  • Complimentary Bag of Food
  • Complimentary Wellness Exam & Rabies Vaccine

Adoption Fees:

Under 1 year: $200
1-4 years: $100
5-9 years: $55
10+ years: $35

*The non-refundable hold fee for puppies is $50. 

What are your cat adoption fees?

Cat Adoption fees include:

  • Feline Leukemia/FIV Test (age appropriate)
  • At least one round of age appropriate vaccinations
  • At least one round of flea/tick preventative
  • Complimentary Bag of Food
  • Complimentary Wellness Exam & Rabies Vaccine

Adoption Fees:

Under 1 year: $100
1-4 years: $65
5-9 years: $35
10+ years: $25


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

You must be at least 18 years old to adopt a pet. If you are under 18 years of age, your parents will need to fill out the adoption application and be present at all stages of the adoption process.

Do you have to own your home to adopt?

No! We welcome individuals who rent or lease. If that is the case, then please come with a copy of your pet policy – or ensure we can reach your landlord to confirm the pet policy.

Do you adopt animals to people outside of Hamilton County or outside the state?

HSHC requires that any animal adopted from us be returned to us if he or she cannot be kept by an adopter for any reason – for the duration of the pet’s life.

Therefore, we will only adopt pets to residents outside Indiana if they live in surrounding states – Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio.  Please note that all the same adoption policies and requirements apply.

Do you have to have a fenced in yard to adopt a dog?

The fencing/containment required depends on the dog’s needs. Most dogs do not require a physical fence. If you do not have a fence, HSHC recommends the dog be leash walked. You do have to offer a safe way to keep your pet contained on your property.

Do you adopt out outdoor cats?

Yes, but not all cats are suited for outdoor living. Meet our eligible outdoor cats HERE.

Who all  needs to be a part of the adoption process?/What is a “meet and greet?”

Before visiting with prospective pets, we ask that you please fill out an application either online or at the shelter so we can get to know more about you, your family and existing pets.

PLEASE NOTE:  We require that ALL family members, regardless of age, meet a potential pet. This requirement may be waived for some cat adoptions.

We also require that any existing dogs in the home have a successful “meet and greet” with your prospective new dog.  Our team of professionals will supervise the meet and greet in one of our outdoor/indoor play areas. If you are driving a long distance to visit us, please bring your dog(s) and family with you.

We do not require “meet and greets” for cats in the home when adopting a cat from us.

What happens if more than one person submits an application for the same pet?

When we have multiple applications for one pet, the first in-person, approved application will get to meet with the pet. If there are multiple people at the shelter with approved applications for a specific pet, shelter management may decide to proceed with a “best fit” adoption. In this situation, all applications and showing notes are reviewed and the most compatible home for the pet is chosen.


How does a “hold” work?

A hold may be placed on an animal once you have submitted your application, it has been approved, and you have met the animal you are interested in adopting. Once a hold is placed on an animal, it will be for no more than 24 hours. If an animal is on hold for a potential adopter, it is not available to be viewed for adoption until the animal is no longer on hold.

Hold fees range from $40-$50. Holds are non-refundable and non-transferrable.

Can I get a refund on my hold fee?

All hold fees are non-refundable. Hold fees not applied toward the adoption fee are considered tax-deductible donations that we put to good use such as feeding and sheltering our adorable adoptables!

If I place an animal on hold first, will I automatically get it?

HSHC management reserves the right to deny an adoption after a hold is placed if it is deemed in the best interest of the animal and/or parties involved. At the time of a denied adoption, it is up to the discretion of HSHC management whether a hold fee is refunded.

For example, most hold fees are placed so a “meet & greet” may be arranged with other family members and/or pets. In the event that meeting doesn’t go well, the adoption would not be completed and the hold fee would not be refunded.

What times can you visit with an animal?

We are open for adoptions every day at 12PM EXCEPT on Wednesdays.  Click here to see our Adoption Hours.

Please note – we will accept applications up until 15 minutes before closing- as long as you are approved you will get to go through the showing process.

Customers that submit an application after 4:45pm/6:45pm may not be able to go into a showing that business day and will be asked to return the following day.

Can I adopt an animal as a gift for someone?

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.

Can you call me when you receive a certain breed of dog?

No. Once you have an approved application, we can pair you with one of our animal care team members who will help you find the best animal for your family.

Check our website daily for new animals.

What do I need to bring when picking up my animal to bring them home?

If you are adopting a cat, please be prepared to bring your own carrier at pickup OR you may purchase one in our retail shop.

If you are adopting a dog, please bring a collar and leash with you OR you may purchase one in our retail shop.

Know When
To Hold

A hold fee, ranging from $40-$50 may be placed on a potential pet making he or she unavailable for 24 hours. Holds may only be placed on an animal once you have an approved application and you have met the animal you are interested in adopting. We do not accept holds over the phone.

Note, we are closed on Wednesdays for adoptions, so holds placed on Tuesdays are good until 5:00 PM on Thursday.


Hold Process


Dollar minimum hold fee


Dollar maximum hold fee


Hour hold period

Returning an Animal

If you’re having issues with your adopted pet, we’re here to help! Our Animal Behavior Team is at your disposal to offer advice, training tips and so many other resources to help you – at no cost! We’re an email or phone call away, so don’t give up! Call 317-773-4974 or email for support.

If your new pet doesn’t turn out to be the love of your life, our adoption policy requires the animal be returned to the shelter. Finding a pet a new home via Craigslist or other advertising outlets often results in a devastating outcome for an animal. Someone else out there is the right match, and we promise not to give up until we’ve found that home.

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.