Where to Adopt a Dog, Cat, or Pet in Tampa, FL

Ready to adopt a pet in Tampa, FL? We're here to help! Check out our list of the top places to adopt a dog, cat, or small pet in Tampa and what to expect!

Adopting a new pet into your home is an incredible experience, but it can be a little nerve-wracking to get started. If you're looking for the best and safest places to adopt a pet in Tampa, we can help show you the way! Plus, there are other things you'll want to know ahead of time, like the adoption process and fees.

Adopting a pet from a shelter is a wonderful way to give an animal a second chance and provide them with a loving home. So let's get your adoption journey started today.

Tampa FL Cat in Blanket

What Do You Need to Adopt a Pet in Tampa, FL?

To adopt a pet from an animal shelter or rescue in Tampa, you will need to meet specific requirements. Every shelter is different, but this can include providing proof of identification, filling out an adoption application, answering a questionnaire, and possibly undergoing a home visit.

Since the requirements will vary from one shelter to another, you must check with the specific shelter you are interested in. Here are the typical pet adoption requirements 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. This may vary, but you must typically be 18 years or older. However, some shelters may require you to be 21 or even 25 years or older. You will also need to present a valid ID when adopting.

  • Fill out the online application

Before you can begin 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. Your fee 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 donors 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 a pet. This step helps prevent any future pet returns to the shelter.

Cost to Adopt a Pet from an Animal Shelter in Tampa, FL

The fees for adopting a pet from a shelter in Tampa, FL, may include the cost of spaying or neutering the animal and any necessary medical treatments, as well as the cost of microchipping. Some shelters offer reduced fees for certain groups, such as senior citizens or military personnel, and may also have discounted prices for senior pets, pets who have been at the shelter for an extended period, or for adopting multiple pets at once.

The adoption fees at Tampa animal shelters can vary, so it is important to check with the specific shelter you are interested in to get the most accurate pricing information. Keep in mind that it is always a good idea to inquire about adoption fees before falling in love with a particular pet.

Tampa FL Dog Smiling on Beach

Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Adult dog: $85
  • Puppies (under 6 months) & small dogs (under 25 lbs): $125
  • Senior citizen (62+) price to adopt an adult dog: $35
  • Senior citizen (62+) price to adopt puppies (under 6 months) & small dogs (under 25 lbs): $65

Kittens and adult cats

  • All cats: $50
  • Senior citizen (62+) price to adopt cats: "director's discretion or market value"


  • Special pet in-need, exotics, and high value/interest pets: "director's discretion or market value"

Humane Society Tampa Bay

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Puppies (3 months and under): $250
  • Adult dogs (over 3 months – 10 years old): $125
  • Senior dogs (over 10 years old): $50

Kittens and adult cats

  • Kittens (3 months and under): $75
  • Adult cats (over 3 months – 10 years old): $40
  • Senior cats (over 10 years old): $25


  • Rabbits: $50
  • Guinea pigs: $40
  • Pocket pets: $20
  • Ferrets: $100
  • Chinchillas & hedgehogs: $75
  • Birds: prices vary
  • Potbelly pigs: $100

*All senior citizens 65+ will receive 50% off any adoption fee.

Tampa FL Skyline at Dusk

Where is the Best Place to Adopt a Pet in Tampa, FL?

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

Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center

Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center is a government-funded animal shelter and rescue. They provide pet adoption services, spay and neuter surgeries, and vaccinations. They pride themselves in making sure that every adoptable pet is "ready to go" by having these services already completed before you take home your new furbaby.

Humane Society Tampa Bay

"The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is dedicated to ending animal homelessness and providing care and comfort for companion animals in need." They are a non-profit organization for homeless and at-risk animals. The Humane Society Tampa Bay is committed to leading the way in animal welfare, showing compassion and respect for all humans and animals, and serving the community with optimism and integrity.

Tampa FL Dog at Adoption Event

SPCA Tampa Bay

"Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Tampa Bay is the only non-profit animal welfare agency that runs an open-admission For-All animal shelter and veterinary center in Pinellas County. The SPCA Tampa Bay animal shelter in Largo cares for over 8,000 animals annually that have been surrendered by their owners, along with injured wildlife." This animal shelter is a non-profit organization that relies heavily on the support and generosity of donors, volunteers, fundraising, and adopters. And their vision is to create a community where every animal matters.

Maxx & Me Pet Rescue

Maxx & Me Pet Rescue is a non-profit dog rescue organization founded in 2014 by Leah Haverstock in memory of her beloved rescue dog, Maxx. They "are dedicated to the well-being and deserving care of animals – large and small, young and old, healthy and in need. [And they] are a 100% volunteer, foster-based, canine and feline rescue and adoption organization."

St. Francis Society Animal Rescue

St. Francis Society Animal Rescue is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to saving animals. They specialize in rescuing cats and dogs that are homeless or in high-kill shelters. Their approach includes fostering these animals in loving homes until they are ready for adoption. What sets St. Francis Society apart is their commitment to animals with special needs. They often take in pets that are older, have medical issues, or require extra care and attention.

This rescue believes that every animal has a right to a happy and healthy life. They go above and beyond to ensure that each pet receives the necessary medical treatment and love. St. Francis Society also prides itself on its thorough adoption process, which ensures that pets are placed in the best possible homes. They are a true testament to the power of compassion and volunteerism.

Animal Coalition of Tampa

The Animal Coalition of Tampa is a beacon of hope for pets in need. They specialize in offering low-cost spaying and neutering services to prevent overpopulation. Not only do they focus on these vital surgeries, but they also provide affordable vaccinations and wellness services. What makes them unique is their dedication to community education. They work tirelessly to inform pet owners about responsible pet care. Their outreach programs are designed to improve the lives of both animals and humans in the Tampa area.

You can feel the passion the staff has for animal welfare the moment you walk through their doors. They believe that every pet deserves a chance at a healthy life, regardless of an owner's financial situation. This commitment to affordability without compromising quality care sets them apart. The Animal Coalition of Tampa also offers special events and fundraisers to support their mission and engage with the community.

PetFinder.com & AdoptAPet.com

In addition to these shelters, you may also be able to find pets for adoption through online resources such as Petfinder.com or AdoptAPet.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 Tampa, FL, today!

Now that you've seen just how many places there are to adopt a pet in Tampa 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 and dog-friendly beaches in Tampa, FL. Plus, we'll help you find the best local pet care professionals right near your home. With these resources, you will be set up for pet-parenting success!

Find Local Pet Care in Tampa FL

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

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