Where to Adopt a Dog, Cat, or Pet in Baltimore

If you're ready to adopt a new fur baby into your home, we're here to help! But where is the safest and best place to adopt a pet in Baltimore? We'll give you all that information and more below!

Adopting a pet from an animal shelter is a great way to give a furry friend a second chance at a loving home. If you live in Baltimore, MD, and are interested in adopting a dog, cat, or other pet, there are several options available to you. But before you get started, check out some helpful information below about the typical adoption process, examples of adoption fees, and a little bit about each shelter in your area.

Baltimore City Skyline

What Do You Need to Adopt a Pet in Baltimore?

In order to adopt a pet from an animal shelter in Baltimore, MD, you may need to meet certain requirements. This can include providing proof of identification and your home address, filling out an adoption application, answering a questionnaire about your pet-parenting style and philosophies, and possibly undergoing a home visit.

The requirements may vary from one shelter to another, so it is important to check with the specific shelter you are interested in. Here are the main requirements for adopting a pet from most animal shelters and rescues.

  • Age minimum to adopt

To adopt a pet from a shelter, you must meet the age requirement set by the specific shelter. These requirements may vary, but you will typically need to be 18 years or older. However, some shelters may require you to be 21 or 25 years or older. You will also need to present a valid ID when adopting.

  • Fill out the online application

Before beginning the adoption process, you will typically need to fill out an online application on the animal shelter's website. This application will ask for your contact information and may also inquire about your home situation, experience with pets, pet-parenting style, and the size of your home and yard. This information is used to ensure that you are ready to care for a pet and to help ensure the safety and well-being of the animal.

  • Cost of adoption fees

There is a cost to adopt a pet from a shelter. This fee covers the expenses associated with housing, feeding, and caring for the animal, including staffing, insurance, mortgage, utilities, and medical care. The fee you pay may seem high, but it is significantly less than the actual cost of caring for the animal until it is adopted. Non-profit shelters and rescues often rely on volunteers and donations to help cover these costs.

  • Have a "meet and greet"

Before adopting a pet, you may be required to participate in a "meet and greet" with the animal. This allows you to interact with the pet and see how you get along. It is also helpful to bring any family members or current pets you have to the meet and greet.

  • Home visit

In some cases, the shelter or rescue may also require a home visit to ensure that your home is suitable for the animal. This step helps ensure the animal's well-being and can help prevent returns to the shelter.

Baltimore Puppy Getting Adopted

Cost to Adopt a Pet from an Animal Shelter

The cost of adopting a pet from an animal shelter in Baltimore, MD, can vary. Some shelters may charge an adoption fee to cover the cost of spaying or neutering the animal and any necessary medical treatments. Some will even include the cost of microchipping your pet.

Other shelters may offer reduced fees for senior citizens, military personnel, or other groups. And sometimes, you'll find discounted prices on senior pets, pets who have been at the shelter for an extended period of time, or even for adopting more than one pet at a time.

For some example prices of the cost to adopt a pet, we've written down some of the fees from local Baltimore animal shelters below. It's always best to check with the specific shelter you are interested in to find out their adoption fees—before you get too attached to an adorable puppy or kitten.

Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS)

Puppies and adult dogs

  • All dogs: $75

Kittens and adult cats

  • All cats: $75

Other small pets

  • All small pets: $0
Baltimore Cat After Being Adopted

Maryland SPCA

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Puppies (under 6 months): $275
  • Adult dogs (under 25lbs): $275
  • Adult dogs (over 25lbs): $150

Kittens and adult cats

  • Kittens (under 6 months): $125
  • Adult cats: $80

*Plus a $10 fee for the required pet license

*Adoption fees are waived for most cats and dogs over 7 years old

*Reduced adoption fees for pets with special needs

Baltimore Humane Society

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Puppies (under 6 months): $275
  • Adult dogs (26 lbs. and over): $150
  • Adult dogs (under 26 lbs.): $275

Kittens and adult cats

  • Kittens (under 6 months): $125
  • Adult cats: $80

Other small pets

  • Rabbits: $60
  • Guinea pigs: $20
  • Rodents: $15

*$50 discount for seniors citizens (60+)

*50% discount on animals age 7 and older

*Bonded pairs: adoption fee waived for one of the two

*Fees are waived for First Responders

*Fees are waived for veterans who adopt up to 2 "hard-to-place" shelter pets

Small Miracles Cat & Dog Rescue

Puppies and adult dogs

  • All dogs: $350

Kittens and adult cats

  • Kittens: $155
  • Pair of kittens: $300
  • Adult cats: $100

*Microchip: additional $30 fee (mandatory for dogs)

Baltimore County Government Animal Services

Puppies and adult dogs

  • All dogs: $50

Kittens and adult cats

  • All cats: $40

*Adoption fees are waived for veterans

Baltimore Dog Getting a Hug

Where is the Best Place to Adopt a Pet in Baltimore, MD?

There are several places in Baltimore, MD, where you can adopt a pet from an animal shelter. You'll find humane societies, government-funded organizations, animal shelters, and animal rescues. Below are some of the most popular, reputable places to adopt a pet in Baltimore, MD. No matter which place you choose, many loving dogs, cats, and more are ready for their new forever home.

Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS)

BARCS is a non-profit organization and is the largest animal shelter and adoption center in Maryland. They offer a wide variety of animals for adoption, including dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and more. BARCS is "an open admission shelter, granting refuge to every abandoned, neglected, abused, lost or surrendered animal that comes through [the] door."

They receive around 10,000 animals—dogs, cats, wildlife, and exotic pets—every year that need new homes. And they are able to save 90% of the pets and counting. You can visit their website to view the animals available for adoption or to fill out an adoption application

Animal Allies Rescue Foundation (AARF)

Animal Allies Rescue Foundation, or AARF, is a volunteer-run organization dedicated to helping stray and homeless animals in the Baltimore area. They specialize in rescuing dogs and cats that are at risk of euthanasia from shelters. AARF doesn't have a physical shelter; instead, they rely on a network of foster homes to care for the animals until they find their forever homes. What makes AARF unique is their commitment to not only saving lives but also to educating the public about responsible pet ownership and the importance of spaying and neutering.

Another standout feature of AARF is their focus on community involvement. They host various events throughout the year to raise funds and awareness for their cause. From adoption events to fundraisers, AARF brings the community together to support animals in need. Their active presence on social media keeps supporters updated on their work and showcases the many pets looking for homes.

Maryland SPCA

Maryland SPCA is a non-profit animal rescue group that operates in the Baltimore area, and they've been around since 1869. Last year alone, they rescued over 2,000 animals, and their "save rate" has been over 90% since 2014.

They offer adoption services for both dogs and cats. But their journey actually began by fighting to protect the city's workhorses after the Civil War from exhaustion and abuse. Now, they focus on improving the lives of all the pets in their community and those who care for them.

Baltimore Humane Society

Baltimore Humane Society is a non-profit animal welfare group that operates an animal clinic and shelter in Baltimore. They were founded in 1927 "by a pioneering and compassionate socialite named Elsie Seeger Barton."

They offer a variety of animals for adoption, including dogs, cats, and other small animals. And they work hard to continue the work that Mrs. Barton started by operating "a low-cost, subsidized Spay, Neuter & Vaccine Clinic, which assists in helping to control the epidemic of pet overpopulation and serve low-income pet owners with quality pet care and vaccinations." And by providing adoption services to find these pets their new forever homes.

Baltimore Dog Shaking Off After Swimming

Small Miracles Cat & Dog Rescue

Small Miracles Cat & Dog Rescue takes in animals from high-kill shelters, owner surrenders, and stray animals. The organization is run by a team of dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to provide the best possible care for each animal.

In addition to finding homes for cats and dogs, Small Miracles Cat & Dog Rescue also provides spay and neuter services, medical care, and other support to their animals. This organization is funded through donations from the community, and they rely heavily on the support of volunteers to help them achieve their mission.

Charm City Animal Rescue

Charm City Animal Rescue is known for its passionate approach to saving animals, particularly cats, from dire situations. They often rescue cats from overcrowded shelters or from being abandoned, giving them a chance at a better life. The rescue operates on a foster-based system, which allows them to provide individualized attention to each cat's needs. Charm City Animal Rescue stands out for its dedication to cats with special needs, including those with medical issues that require ongoing care.

The uniqueness of this rescue shines through in their creative adoption efforts. They frequently use social media to feature "Cat of the Week" posts, highlighting different felines and their stories to attract potential adopters. Their community-focused events and partnerships with local businesses help to integrate the rescue efforts into the heart of Baltimore.

Baltimore County Government Animal Services

The Baltimore County Government provides a range of programs and services to help find homes for animals in need. The organization operates an animal shelter in Baltimore County that cares for and provides housing for stray, abandoned, and surrendered animals. The shelter also serves as a resource for the community, providing information and resources on responsible pet ownership and animal welfare.

In addition to the animal shelter, they provide adoption events, foster care programs, and online listings of available animals. The Baltimore County Government works with various local animal rescue groups and organizations to help find homes for as many animals as possible.

PetFinder.com & Adopt-a-Pet.com

In addition to these shelters, you can also find pets for adoption through online resources such as Petfinder or Adopt-a-Pet.com. You can view pictures of cats, dogs, and other small pets from numerous animal shelters and rescues nearby. And you can filter through the available pets to find what you're looking for based on species, gender, breed, size, age, and whether or not they are good with children and other pets.

Adopt a Pet in Baltimore, MD, today!

Now that you've seen just how many places there are to adopt a pet in Baltimore and you know the potential fees and requirements for adoption, it's time to start the search for your new fur baby!

At Local Pet Care, we're here to help you not only find the best places to adopt but also the best dog-friendly restaurants and the best dog parks in Baltimore. We'll also help you find the best local pet care professionals near your home. With all of these resources, you will be set up for pet-parenting success!

Find Local Pet Care in Baltimore

For more great articles about dog-friendly activities and pet-parenting advice, check out the Blog at LocalPetCare.com.

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