Where to Adopt a Pet in Columbus, OH

Are you looking for a new pet? Congrats! Check out this article for the best places to adopt a dog or cat in Columbus, OH.

Columbus Skyline at Night

How many dogs are in shelters in Ohio?

Adopting a pet is a great way to give a sweet, lovable dog or cat a new home. Shelter pets are already alive and waiting for their new loving family and forever home. There are over 131,000 dogs in shelters across the state of Ohio. That doesn’t include cats and other small pets.

In fact, there’s a problem with pet overpopulation in shelters and rescues across the US. A study by the Shelter Animals Count organization in 2019 showed that “approximately 6.3 million companion animals enter US animal shelters nationwide yearly.” And of those pets, only “4.1 million shelter animals are adopted each year.”

And when you decide to adopt, you not only save the life of the pet you’re bringing home, but you help ease the burden of space, funds, and care for another animal to be cared for in the shelter until they’re adopted. You are really saving two pets.

What are the requirements to adopt a dog?

Adopting a pet is easy, and most animal shelters and rescues will explain their process on their website, along with their adoption fees and fostering process. Although each place will vary a little, below are some general guidelines of what you can expect.

  • You must be at least 18 or older, and you’ll need to show a current valid ID. Remember that some shelters and rescues will require you to be older—each has its own standards.

  • There are adoption fees. For examples—and what you get for that cost—check out the pricing section below.

  • Before adopting a pet, you’ll get the chance to do a “meet and greet” to see if this is a good match. It’s a good idea to bring the whole family along, including other pets you already have to see how they interact.

  • Some rescues and shelters will even do a home visit before you can adopt your new pet to make sure that your home is a suitable environment for taking care of a cat or dog.

Columbus Cat Ready for Adoption

Where is the best place to find pets in Columbus, OH?

If you’re ready to start searching for your new cat or dog fur baby, let’s check out some of the best places to adopt a pet in Columbus, OH. The list below comprises some of our favorite, reputable animal shelters, rescues, and humane societies, as well as an online resource that will help you search for every available pet anywhere in the United States.


PetFinder.com is my favorite place to search online for adoptable dogs and cats. This is a great online resource for searching for pets across the US. You can filter your search by the area you live in, species you want, breed or breed mix, gender, age range, and whether or not they are good with children or other cats and dogs. You’ll get to see pictures of the pets, plus a little bit about each one.

Columbus Adoptable Dog Being Silly

Franklin County Dog Shelter & Adoption Center

The Franklin County Dog Shelter & Adoption Center takes in lost and stray dogs, tries to find the original owners, and works hard to find foster and adoptive families for every dog. Their mission “is to enforce the dog laws in Franklin County and keep the public safe from animal-related health or safety dangers.”

Columbus Humane

Columbus Humane works to help people, pets, and their community. They have been serving Columbus for 140 years. They are opening a new Columbus Humane Essential Care Center to “dramatically increase access to quality veterinary care and nutritious pet food for our neighbors struggling to get care for the pets they love.” This is a great place to adopt from, volunteer at, or donate to.

CHA Animal Shelter

CHA Animal Shelter is a nonprofit animal shelter in Columbus, OH. They were initially established in 1975. And have been working every year to serve their community. Their “mission is to serve the people and animals of Central Ohio by providing safe, temporary shelter and care for abandoned or otherwise homeless cats and dogs, and to reduce pet overpopulation utilizing spay and neuter, education, and community outreach.”

Canine Collective

The Canine Collective works to “provide rescued dogs another chance to find their forever homes. [They] rescue from high kill shelters, hoarding situations, and from families in crisis.” If you’re interested in helping out, you can make a one-time donation, recurring donation, shop and donate supplies, volunteer to walk the dogs, take them to a vet appointment, or even help showcase the adoptable dogs at Petsmart on Saturdays. Or, if you’re ready, you can adopt a pet into your family.

Columbus Puppy Being Adopted

How much does it cost to adopt a cat or dog in Columbus?

When you adopt a pet from an animal shelter or rescue, they will generally charge you a pet adoption fee. Adoption fees exist because shelters and rescues must pay to feed and care for the pets until they find their new family.

On top of day-to-day care, rescues and shelters give animals proper medical care, up-to-date vaccinations, and take care of their spay or neuter surgeries. Some locations will even microchip your pet, just in case they get lost in the future.

Each animal shelter and rescue will charge a different pet adoption fee. But in general, dogs will cost more than cats. Young pets will cost more than older pets. And sometimes, certain breeds or purebreds will cost more to adopt than mixed breeds.

Some shelters and rescues will even give discounted rates for “long-stay” animals who have been at the shelter much longer than the others. Or even for senior pets. And some will provide discounts for adopters who are current or retired military or senior citizens. You may even find discounted rates for buying more than one pet at a time.

To get a general idea of what the fees may be at the shelters and rescues near you, check out the examples below.


Because PetFinder.com shows you adoptable pets all over the US, they don’t have their own adoption fees. The price per pet will depend on which animal shelter or rescue in Columbus you actually adopt the pet from.

Franklin County Dog Shelter & Adoption Center

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Under 5 years old: $123

  • 5 years and older: $73

  • Long-stay dogs: $18

Columbus Humane

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Puppies: $350

  • Adult dogs: $175

Kittens and adult cats

  • 6 months and under: $100

  • Older than 6 months: $75

Other animals

  • Rabbits: $50

CHA Animal Shelter

Puppies and adult dogs

  • 5 months and under: $300

  • Older than 5 months: $150

Kittens and adult cats

  • 5 months and under: $80

  • 5 months to 5 years and 11 months: $40

  • 6 years and older: $5

Canine Collective

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Adoption fees will vary

Columbus Dog in Orchard

Become a pet parent today

Now that you have all of the information needed to adopt a pet in Columbus, what are you waiting for? There are tons of amazing, loving pets that are ready for their new forever home. And we’ll be with you every step of the way.

At Local Pet Care, we’re here to help you find the best places to adopt, the best dog-friendly restaurants and dog parks in Columbus, and even to help you find the best local pet care professionals in your area. With all of these resources, you will be set up for pet parenting success!

Find Local Pet Care in Columbus CTA

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

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