Adoption Policies

Your True Love Awaits

Share Your Story. Meet Your Match.

Our animals change daily, so please check our lists of adoptable dogs and adoptable cats frequently. Once you find an animal you’d like to adopt, the next steps are to come meet the animal and complete an application. Make sure to be thorough and help us understand why you’re interested in that particular animal — and why your home is a great fit.

If multiple applications are received for the same animal, our staff will determine on a case by case basis if HSHC’s team will review the applications and select the home we feel is the “best fit” or the first applicant. This process is subject to change and is at the discretion of HSHC staff.

Adoption Policy FAQs

How does a “hold” work?

A hold may be placed on 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.

Showings/Meet and Greets

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 get a refund on my hold fee?

All hold fees are non-refundable. Hold fees not used toward adoption 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 any application if it is deemed in the best interest of the animal and/or parties involved.

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.

What are your cat adoption fees?

1 year: $75
1-4 years: $55
5-9 years: $35
10+ years: $25

What are your dog adoption fees?

1 year: $150
1-4 years: $90
5-9 years: $55
10+ years: $35

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

Yes! Please note that all the same policies and requirements apply.

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

Unfortunately, no. But you can submit an application online, and our matchmaker will help pair you with the best fit for your home.

Know When
to Hold

For a $40 non-refundable hold fee (determined by the adoption fee), your potential family member will be unavailable to other adopters until 5:00 PM the next business day. Note, we are closed on Wednesdays for adoptions, so holds placed on Tuesdays are good until 5:00 PM on Thursday.

But remember… every moment your love is on hold is a missed opportunity for someone else to love him or her. So, please think carefully before placing an animal on hold.

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 match doesn’t turn out to be the love of your life, our adoption policy requires the animal be returned to the shelter so we can ensure they are safely re-homed. 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.